The New England Patriots are a top candidate to go to Mexico City to face the Oakland Raiders in 2017, according to ESPN’s John Sutcliffe. The Raiders want to make the Mexico trip a “regular occurrence”, like the Jaguars in London, and Sutcliffe notes “Pats owner Robert Kraft is very interested in the possibility of playing in Mexico City.”
Mexico City offers more potential than London as an expansion point because the time zone is easier for NFL players and fans, and because Mexico City already has a larger base of football fans. Flights to Mexico City are roughly 6 hours for the Patriots and for the Seahawks, which will make Mexico a much more palatable destination for west coast teams that had to travel on 11+ hour flights to get to London.
This season’s Mexico City game between the Raiders and Texans featured a green laser being pointed at the eyes of Texans QB Brock Osweiler all game long. I would expect a team with an owner, head coach, and quarterback that supported a presidential candidate that has a, shall we say, contentious relationship with Mexico to receive a similar treatment.
Patriots TE Martellus Bennett went on an interesting rant about the oversaturation of the NFL by expanding into areas that don’t really care about football. I think Mexico City actually makes a lot of sense- at least more sense than London- as a logical next step for the NFL to grow in other countries.