Rooney, one of the members of the NFL’s International Committee, is optimistic the league will stage games in two more countries. He spent time during the recent owners meetings working on the expansion of the league’s global footprint.
“If I had to put a timetable on it, I would be disappointed if we don’t have games in those two countries within the next five years,” Rooney told the team’s website.
“The audience in those two countries — there are enough NFL fans in both to support a game, and so it’s really a matter of being able to put together a stadium situation that would work well for us, as well as being able to put together a broadcasting and digital media-style programming so the games can be broadcast in those countries as well being played there.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week at the owners meetings that the league would “evaluate” Germany, Mexico and Brazil as game sites.
Rooney said Germany and Mexico are more likely to host a game before Brazil.
“Brazil is the one I would say is the newest discussion, and my guess is there will have to be a little longer lead time in developing that,” Rooney said.
The NFL will hold three games in London in 2015 as part of the regular-season schedule. Overall, the league has scheduled 14 games in London since 2007.
The Steelers’ visit to Mexico City came in the 2000 preseason against the Indianapolis Colts, and the team’s first regular-season game overseas was in London in 2013 against the Minnesota Vikings.
“We would love to play another game in Mexico at some point, and so that part of taking NFL football to another country is something in which we have a keen interest,” Rooney said. “The Steelers are interested in the other international games as well, and so there’s a lot of activity going on. There’s a lot of interest in NFL football around the world, and we’re just trying to keep developing that.”
I understand the NFL’s interest in growing its brand worldwide, but what is the cost? Come playoff time we hear how teams put so much emphasis on home field advantage. That is because since 1940, the home team has a winning percentage of .673 in the playoffs, which is about 10 percent higher than home field advantage during the regular season.
The odds are that if you have a home game in the NFL that the home team is more likely to win the game than lose. Why then risk that by playing on a neutral field, with no advantage to you?