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Steelers Playing in Mexico Seems Certain, But When?

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Steelers Fans Mexico

It seems like a sure thing that the Pittsburgh Steelers will eventually play an international game in Mexico, but when still seems up in the air.

The NFL released its international game home teams for the 2023 season last week and the Steelers will not play in any of the games next year, two of which will be in London and and the other two in Germany.

No NFL games will be played in Mexico in 2023, and it seems likely that the league will once again look south of the border in 2024. The Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers played the last game in Mexico this fall.

Those two teams also played the first game in Mexico in 2005. The Las Vegas Raiders, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers played in games in 2016, 2017 and 2019, all of which have been at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams and Steelers have also designated Mexico as part of their International Home Market Area, in accordance with league guidelines.

So when are those four teams going to play in Mexico City? According to Peter King of Pro Football Talk, Azteca is not available in 2023 because of a construction project related to the hosting of the 2026 World Cup.

Every NFL team is required to sacrifice one home game every eight years for an international game as part of the league’s expansion to an 18-week, 17-game season in 2021. But it’s likely that will happen on the years the team is scheduled to host nine home games.

For the Steelers, that’s 2023, so they would be unlikely to give up a home game to host in 2024 when they only have eight. In 2024, the Steelers play at the Broncos and Raiders, two teams with their own interest in Mexico, but both of those teams also have eight home games.

It’s probably more reasonable to expect that the Steelers will get a game in Mexico in 2025.

Why Mexico, anyway? The Steelers have had a large following in Mexico since the 1970s, when NBC, which carried most of the Steelers games, was first made available in Mexico.

In recent years, the Steelers have emphasized their Mexican fanbase with separate Spanish social media feeds and audio broadcasts. Najee Harris made a trip to Mexico City last offseason, where he announced a Steelers draft pick and held a youth football camp.

“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,” president Art Rooney II said in 2021.

The Steelers have played one regular season game outside of the United States, a 34-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium in London in 2013.

They also played preseason games in Montreal (1990), Barcelona (1993), Tokyo (1996), Dublin (1997) and in Mexico City in 2000.

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Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
January 24, 2023 10:53 pm

as a true Steelers fan, I hope Steelers Omar Khan can find some talent up in Mexico

Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers
January 25, 2023 3:08 am

In no way should the team who has almost always the shortest travel distance for road games get to choose where they will play an international game. West coast teams travel 5 times the distance annually compared with the Stealers.

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