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Steelers Won’t Play International Game in 2023; No Game in Mexico

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Steelers Mexico

The NFL announced on Thursday that the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, and New England Patriots will all host an international game in 2023. The Pittsburgh Steelers play the Titans, Jaguars and Patriots in 2023, but it will be at Acrisure Stadium. That means the Steelers will once again not travel abroad this upcoming season.

For the international games in 2023, the Jaguars, Bills, and Titans will all be playing in London. While the Chiefs and Patriots are scheduled to host a game in Germany. There is no game in Mexico in 2023 because of renovations at Estadio Azteca. However, the NFL intends to return to Mexico in the coming years.

The Steelers haven’t played an international game since 2013, a 34–27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium in London. The Steelers have a huge following in Mexico, so a game at Estadio Azteca could be in the cards in the future. Steelers president Art Rooney II has even been pushing for it, as long as a home game isn’t given up.

“We’re fortunate to have fans in other countries around the world, and so at some point we’d like to have a Steelers game played in Mexico and potentially in other countries,” Rooney told Bob Labriola of Steelers.com in 2021. “You always have to balance that with we’re not that anxious to move home games. Under the current proposal, we would only have to move one game every eight years, something like that. It’s not going to be that burdensome on us, but I do think it’s something where we do want to grow the game internationally and play games in front of our fans in Mexico and other countries. We’re lucky enough to have Steelers fans in a lot of different places, and we’d like to play in front of them sometimes.”

Especially over the last 10 years, the Steelers have found multiple ways to engage with their fans in Mexico. In this past year’s draft, Najee Harris was selected to announce the team’s fourth round pick from Mexico City. Harris also spent the rest of the weekend in Mexico City taking part in events with both fans and Steelers’ influencers.

“I wanted to explore Mexico City,” Harris said. “I had never been out of the country, so I’m interested in learning about different cultures and food. The support there, that was crazy how big the Steelers are there. All the fans that showed up, every time I stepped out people recognized me, that was pretty dope. It was very exciting, such a big fan base.”

In 2021, the NFL announced that 18 teams have been granted access to 26 International Home Marketing Areas (IHMA) across eight different countries. Mexico is the International Home Marketing Area for the Steelers, so a game there is bound to happen eventually.

The Steelers have played in Mexico just once, a 24-23 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the preseason in 2000. Pittsburgh has played in four other International preseason games — 1993 against the San Francisco 49ers in Barcelona, 1996 against the San Diego Chargers in Tokyo, 1997 against the Chicago Bears in Dublin, and 2008 against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. The 2013 game in London was their lone regular-season international contest.

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