NFL International Reach: 10 Facts About Games Played Outside The United States – AthlonSports.com

The NFL International Series resumes this weekend when the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints play in London. This will be followed by two more games in London (New York Giants-Green Bay in Week 5, Denver-Jacksonville in Week 8), as well as games in Mexico City (San Francisco-Arizona in Week 11) and , for the first hour, Munich, Germany (Seattle-Tampa Bay week 10).

Related: 5 Best International NFL Games

The NFL has actually been playing games outside of the United States since 1926. Here are 10 facts you may or may not know about the NFL International Series.

1. First game played outside the United States

The first professional football game played outside of the United States was on November 8, 1926, when the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Wildcats traveled to Maple Leaf Stadium in Toronto, with the Yankees winning. 28-0. Both teams were scheduled to take part in this game after having played another one the day before.

2. NFL/CFL Series

The NFL and the Canadian Football League (CFL) played six games in Canada between 1950 and 1961, with the NFL winning them all. If you’re wondering how the leagues were able to handle their rule differences, like the CFL’s 110-yard field, teams played a hybrid of NFL and CFL rules. For example, the first half of the 1950 contest between the New York Giants and the Ottawa Rough Riders was played under CFL rules, while the second half was played under NFL rules.

3. The World Cup

In 1983, John Marshall, a British entrepreneur, organized a pre-season game at Wembley Stadium between the Minnesota Vikings and the St. Louis Cardinals called The Global Cup. In 1984, he held a similar exhibition contest between the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars and the Tampa Bay Bandits. As the USFL season ran from February to July, the game was played on July 21, six days after the Stars won the league title.

4. The American Bowl

To promote football in other countries, the NFL created a permanent preseason game played outside the United States called the American Bowl, which ran from 1986 to 2005. During this period, the league has played matches on four different continents – North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Over the course of the game’s history, it has been played in London, Tokyo, Berlin, Syndey, Toronto, Dublin, and Barcelona, ​​among other foreign cities.

5. World Football League/NFL Europe

In 1991, the NFL launched the World League of American Football (WLAF), which had teams in North America and Europe playing in the spring. The WLAF was very popular in Europe, but not so much in North America, so the NFL renamed it in 1995 NFL Europe, and teams played only in that continent. Future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner led NFL Europe in touchdowns and passing yards during his 1998 season with the Amsterdam Admirals.

6. American Football

The first modern NFL game played outside the United States was marketed as “Fútbol Americano”. On October 2, 2005, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31–14 in front of a record crowd of 103,467 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

7. NFL International Series

In 2007, the league launched the NFL International Series, an annual series of regular season games played outside the United States. The first city was London, but it expanded to Mexico City in 2016 and Munich this season.

8. Toronto Buffalo Bills Series

From 2008 to 2013, the Buffalo Bills played six regular season games at Rogers Center in Toronto. Buffalo is about two hours from Toronto, but its northern neighbor didn’t provide home-court advantage as the Bills went 1-5 in those games.

9. Bowl of China

The NFL has currently left the door open to play in China. In fact, the Los Angeles Rams are allowed to freely market their franchise in China as part of the league’s International Home Marketing Areas initiative. Additionally, the NFL attempted to schedule a game in Beijing with a preseason contest between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks in 2007. The game was eventually moved to 2009 and then canceled due to the 2008 recession.

10. Impact on teams

Considering the trip and the loss of a home game, it was questioned whether playing in the NFL International Series had any impact on a team’s season. That being said, three teams that played made it to the Super Bowl – the 2007 New York Giants, 2017 New England Patriots, and 2019 Kansas City Chiefs. These Giants and Chiefs teams went on to win the trophy Lombardi, not the Patriots.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.