It’s become a given over the last decade that certain franchises never will give up a home game to play in another country. Teams like the Cowboys, Packers, Patriots, and Steelers are seen as being unofficially exempt from the rotation.
It could be time to remove the Steelers from that list.
Via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Steelers owner Art Rooney said Friday that the Steelers could be giving up a home game in order to play in Mexico City.
“There will be a game in Mexico for the next three years, so like I said, we’ve kind of raised our hand for that one, and hopefully we’ll get selected one of these years,” Rooney said.
The Steelers have played a regular-season game in England, but they were the road team for the 2013 contest against the Vikings.
“We only have a handful of teams that don’t mind giving up a home game, and they are the ones kind of in the mix,” Rooney said. “That is definitely a challenge. It is a challenge for us. We would like to play in some of these games, but we are not anxious to give up a home game. Maybe some year, we may have to do it once.”
The league has tied hosting a Super Bowl to giving up a home game for the league’s ever-expanding international presence. Even then, the NFL will need more teams to be willing to do it, in order to fulfill the growing inventory of foreign games.
“We’re going to need maybe, let’s say six to 10 [games] at some point,” Rooney said. “That’s going to be a challenge to find that many games. I think that’s going to get a lot of discussion at this meeting in terms of where we’re going with that.”
One way to increase the number of available non-American games would be to increase the size of the regular season, a concept that has been dormant for the past few years but that lingers. Expanding to 17 games would allow all teams to host eight regular season games, with a full 16 extra games each year that could be played beyond the nation’s borders — or, in theory, at large college stadiums like Michigan, Ohio State, or Penn State.