Speaking at his pre-Super Bowl press conference, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Wednesday that the league will once again have a game in Mexico for the 2022 season. The league last played a game at Azteca Stadium in 2019, but due to COVID-19 protocols they have not returned the last two seasons.
The Dallas Cowboys large international following, particularly in Mexico, makes them a prime candidate to play in this game. The NFL will also play its first ever game in Germany in 2022, and one each season for the next four years.
The Cowboys have not played an international game since 2014, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-17 in London. The Jaguars have played the most international games of any franchise, and do appear on the Cowboys 2022 schedule as an away opponent. This game will be a rematch against former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.
Jerry Jones, in an interview on the @dallascowboys website, said the Cowboys would be willing to give up a future home game to play a game in Mexico.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 21, 2021
“I would do that to make sure that Mexico and our Mexican fans everywhere understand what our Mexican fans mean to us.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said back in December that the team would be willing to give up a future home game to play in front of a likely pro-Cowboys crowd in Mexico. The only team yet to play an international game also appears on the Cowboys schedule next season, as Mike McCarthy faces the Green Bay Packers for the first time. While it’s unlikely this game gets moved from Lambeau Field, the Cowboys also face both Super Bowl LVI opponents in 2022.
If Dallas is willing to give up a home game, the AFC champion Bengals appear on the home schedule, while the Rams are an away game to likely be played in Los Angeles - the site of this year’s Super Bowl. The NFL used the Cowboys as the Thursday night opener against the defending champion Buccaneers last year, and could consider it again should the Rams win on Sunday.
The last NFL game in Mexico featured AFC West rivals in the Chiefs and Chargers. The eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs beat the Chargers 24-17 in front of 76,252 fans at Azteca Stadium.
The first ever NFL game in Mexico was in 2005 between the Cardinals and 49ers. The Cardinals were scheduled to play in Mexico back in 2020, and as the host site of next year’s Super Bowl could “lose” a home game to return to Azteca Stadium. The NFL’s uneven number of home and away games starting this season favors the Cardinals in 2022, who could still play eight games at State Farm Stadium and one in Mexico.