For the first time in six years, the New England Patriots will travel abroad this season. As was announced by the NFL on Thursday, they are among five host teams for the league’s International Series in 2023.
That means that one of their nine home games will not take place at Gillette Stadium, but instead six time zones east in Germany. The date and location has not yet been announced — the game will be played either in Munich or Frankfurt — and neither has the opponent.
While a lot remains to be determined as of right now, we do know that the Patriots will be able to add another game to what is a rather short but successful history of international competition so far. In total, after all, the team has played only three previous regular season contests outside the United States.
2009 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (London): The Patriots’ first non-preseason game on international soil took place at London’s Wembley Stadium during the 2009 season, and it was a blowout. Led by an opportunistic defense that had three interceptions — including a Brandon Meriweather pick-six — New England ended up beating Tampa Bay with a final score of 35-7.
2012 vs. St. Louis Rams (London): Three years after the Buccaneers were blown out by the Patriots at Wembley Stadium, the Rams suffered the same fate. While they did take a 7-0 lead, New England ended up scoring 45 unanswered after that. Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes en route to a 45-7 victory, with Rob Gronkowski as his favorite target: the two future Hall of Famers connected eight times for 146 yards and two scores.
2017 vs. Oakland Raiders (Mexico City): The Patriots’ first trip to Mexico in two decades saw them leave the Raiders no chance. Tom Brady threw three touchdowns this time around, while Stephen Gostkowski went 4-for-4 on field goal tries including a career-long from 62 yards out. When all was said and done, New England had scored 33 points to the Raiders’ 8, improving to 3-0 in international regular season games.
While the Patriots have played only those three games away from the U.S. in the regular season, their international history is actually longer than that.
In addition to those games, after all, they also played three preseason contests plus an interleague game abroad over the course of the years. The first of those came in August 1969, when the AFL’s Boston Patriots met the NFL’s Detroit Lions at Jarry Park in Montreal. That game ended 22-9 in the Lions’ favor.
The Patriots also came up empty in their next trips to Canada. Facing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in the 1990 preseason, New England lost 30-14; three years after that, they were beaten 12-9 by the Cleveland Browns in Toronto. In 1998, they celebrated a 21-3 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in another exhibition showdown, this time in Mexico City.
The team also was scheduled to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the so-called China Bowl in August 2007. That game, which would have taken place in Beijing, was initially postponed to 2009 before being canceled altogether.