NFL announces 5 international teams for 2022 season; Packers make London debut, Bucs in Germany

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The NFL will have several international game firsts in 2022, including the final franchise to make a London appearance and the first regular-season game in Germany.

The league announced Monday the five teams that will play in international games in the upcoming season: the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The timing is interesting, with conflict continuing to rage overseas in Ukraine, but the NFL believes the games will happen without the concern of possibly broader war this fall in Europe.

Assuming the games go off without a hitch, the Packers will make their first regular-season international trip this season. Every other NFL franchise has been involved since the NFL started its international series of games in 2007. The Packers' opponent will be named at a later time.

"The Green Bay Packers are excited to make our international debut during the 2022 season," Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said. "Our fans in the UK and elsewhere in Europe have been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to see the Packers play in their backyard, and we know that many of our fans in the United States will travel to London.

"It will be an honor to represent the NFL, as well as Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin, internationally. This will be a great opportunity to introduce the Packers, as well Green Bay and our area, to an international audience and encourage fans in the UK to visit us in person at Lambeau Field."

Will Aaron Rodgers be with the Packers for their trip? We don't yet know. But Packers fans travel extremely well, so the expectation is that there will be plenty of green and gold flooding a British soccer stadium this fall.

Packers fans get their first chance to watch their team play in Europe this season. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Packers fans get their first chance to watch their team play in Europe this season. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Buccaneers break into Germany

The Buccaneers will be featured in the NFL's regular-season debut in Munich, Germany. The league has been wanting to break into the German market, where the NFL's popularity is strong and has been steadily rising for years.

"We look forward to participating in the first regular-season NFL game in Munich, Germany later this fall as part of the International Series," Buccaneers owner/co-chairman Joel Glazer said. "This historic game will play a crucial role in the NFL's efforts to grow its international footprint while allowing us to directly engage NFL fans in Germany."

Too bad Tom Brady retired this offseason. He could have become possibly the first NFL player to play games in four different countries, having already logged games in England, Mexico and the U.S.

The Cardinals will play in Mexico City, where they hosted the league's first regular-season game outside the United States in 2005. That game, held at Estadio Azteca, generated the league's eighth-largest crowd ever with 103,467 fans in attendance.

"In 2005, when the Cardinals hosted the first NFL regular-season game played outside the United States, we experienced first-hand the extraordinary support and incredible passion of our fans in Mexico," Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said. "We know that has increased exponentially in the years since and are thrilled to return to Mexico City and Estadio Azteca in 2022."

Mexico City hosted Robert Griffith and the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL's first-ever international game back in 2005. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mexico City hosted Robert Griffith and the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL's first international game in 2005. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Saints will play in the United Kingdom for the third time, winning both of their previous trips overseas. Both the Saints and Packers will play at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Jaguars previously announced that they will play a home game at Wembley Stadium in 2022.

"We are very excited to be staging five games outside the United States in 2022, and thank the clubs for their continued commitment to growing the sport internationally," NFL executive vice president of club business and league events Peter O'Reilly said. "Our fans in Germany, Mexico and the UK can look forward to seeing some of the most iconic names and biggest stars in the League and enjoying an incredible series of events."

When the NFL expanded its regular season to 17 games last year, it resulted in a schedule shift for the 2022 regular season. Beginning in 2022, up to four of the teams from the conference whose teams were eligible for a ninth regular-season home game — this year it's the NFC — would be designated to play a neutral-site international game each year in its place.