The NFL will play its first ever regular season game in Germany later this year, but it appears that the New England Patriots will not be a part of it.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been chosen as the home team for that contest, as first reported by Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily, which in turn eliminates the Patriots as a contestant. The two teams, after all, last played each other during the 2021 regular season and under the NFL scheduling formula are not set to meet again until 2025.
The Patriots were among the favorites to play in Germany this season. Not only are is the team the most popular team in the country and has a connection in the form of fullback Jakob Johnson, New England also recently added it to its exclusive marketing area.
Also among the teams that added Germany to their “home marketing areas” are the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers, as well as the Buccaneers themselves. One or possibly even two of them getting the honor of opening the NFL International Series in Germany was to be expected.
Turns out, Tampa Bay has been the pick. Now, the organization will play a game at Allianz Arena in Munich this season.
Whether or not that decision was made before star quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement earlier this offseason is not known.
While the Buccaneers hosting that game eliminates New England as an opponent, both the Chiefs and Panthers are still in play to travel to Europe as well. Carolina is one of Tampa Bay’s division rivals — meaning the two clubs meet twice each year — while Kansas City is on the team’s schedule as well. That game is listed as a home game for the Buccaneers, meaning that moving it to Germany is still very much possible.
The Chiefs would make sense as an opponent, too. After all, a business agreement exists between Kansas City owner Clark Hunt and Bayern Munich, the soccer team whose stadium will host the game: Bayern Munich and FC Dallas, which is owned by Hunt, have an international cooperation that could point towards the Chiefs getting the nod as the Buccaneers’ opponent.
A Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay matchup would be a rematch of Super Bowl LV. That game was won by the then-Brady-led Buccaneers with a final score of 31-9.
As for the Patriots, they are a realistic candidate to play in Germany in 2023. That game will be hosted by the city of Frankfurt.