The 2016 NFL season will mark the 10th in row in which the league has held at least one regular-season game outside of the United States. Four games will be played overseas this season as part of the NFL International Series: Three in London (including one at Twickenham, home of the English rugby team, which has never hosted an NFL game) and, for the first time since 2005, a game in Mexico City.
League officials fiercely denied reports earlier this month that the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Rams would play in China on a to-be-determined date in 2018. “We have not announced the Rams’ opponent in the event we play a game there,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, according to BleacherReport. “We have said we are exploring playing a game there, but nothing is definitive.”
Here are the NFL’s 2016 international games:
Week 4: Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Wembley Stadium)
Week 7: New York Giants @ St. Louis Rams (Twickenham)
Week 8: Washington Redskins @ Cincinnati Bengals (Wembley Stadium)
Week 11: Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders (Estadio Azteca)
While the NFL obviously relishes taking its shield around the globe — there’s talk of having an actual team based in London by 2022 — opinions are split on whether international games are a good idea. Opponents cite the loss of a home game, jet lag and significant time differences. Last year’s London games began at 9:30 a.m. (EST). Meanwhile proponents of the International Series say they would like the league to continue its expansion efforts to “see if the greatest athletes from across the world would consider playing [the United States’] most popular sport over their country’s adopted game.”
For a detailed look at the NFL’s quest for world dominance, read this wired.com article.