The league announced in July that it wanted to play outside the country so it could determine whether to begin a broader international push.
The NFL “is going to look at all of the markets that have indicated an interest in doing this around the world: several in Europe, Canada, Asia,” said Roger Goodell, the league’s executive vice president.
Goodell re-emphasized what commissioner Paul Tagliabue said when he announced the project: that if the game is a success, the league might “look to play an international game, maybe on an annual basis, and rotate that around to some of the markets that have an interest globally.”
The first of five NFL preseason games in Mexico was in 1994, when the Houston Oilers beat the Dallas Cowboys 6-0. It set the league record for attendance by drawing 112,376 to Azteca. The stadium has since been renovated, making it impossible for attendance to top 105,000.
Fans will be watching a pair of teams trying to end losing streaks.
Arizona fell to 0-3 on the season with a 37-12 loss in Seattle last Sunday, while San Francisco lost 34-31 at home to Dallas for its second straight defeat.
After unsuccessfully juggling three quarterbacks last season, the Cardinals hoped veteran Kurt Warner would provide a steady presence for a young offense. But after three games, the veteran is sidelined with a right groin injury, and the Cardinals will be starting Josh McCown this week.
Warner signed with Arizona in March and the two-time NFL MVP opened this season with losses to his former teams—St. Louis and the New York Giants— before suffering the injury in last Sunday’s defeat. He was 8-of-13 for 105 yards before getting hurt with just under four minutes remaining in the second quarter.
“You don’t want to be sitting out the game,” Warner said Monday. “You want to be out there battling, no question. But at the same time, when those things happen, what do you do? Do you stew on it and pout about it, or do you do everything you can to get back on the winning track?”
McCown struggled after replacing Warner, going 10-of-23 for 97 yards and an interception as the Cardinals got off to an 0-3 start for the second straight season under coach Dennis Green.
“It’s not working,” Green said. “You have a lot of strategies, you plan strategies and you want them to work. Now we’re sitting 0-3 and played very poorly in the second half.”
San Francisco received a solid performance from its quarterback, but blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter in the loss to Dallas. Tim Rattay was 21-of-34 for 269 yards and tied his career high with three TDs.
Four different receivers had at least four catches, with Brandon Lloyd finishing with a career-high 142 yards.
“We never felt it slipping away,” Rattay said. “We felt good and confident. I couldn’t make any plays near the end, and I take full responsibility for this loss.”
“It’s unacceptable to lose that game,” Niners coach Mike Nolan said. “They ought to feel the same way. It’s unacceptable. We’re not a 2-14 football team. When you all of a sudden think that you’re a 2-14 football team, that’s an OK performance.”
This contest is considered a home game for the Cardinals.