Not everyone is thrilled about the idea of a game in Mexico

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Steelers president Art Rooney II might be advocating games in Mexico, but his team apparently wasn’t such a fan.

Via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, some Steelers feared for their families when they played there in 2000.

Running back Jerome Bettis said the only two games his parents missed were a preseason in Tokyo in 1996 and the game in Mexico City.

It wasn’t the distance (they made the 1997 preseason game Ireland), rather because “the players were told it was best to keep their families at home because of the danger in Mexico City.”

Naturally no one ever said that out loud at the time, which you’d expect while they were promoting a game there. And the league played a regular season game in Mexico City in 2005 between the Cardinals and 49ers, drawing over 100,000 fans.

Of course, the Steelers don’t have to worry about heading south of the border or anywhere else now, since their lease with Heinz Field requires them to play 10 games per year there.

94 responses to “Not everyone is thrilled about the idea of a game in Mexico

  1. I think if Rooney wants a game in Mexico City so bad, he should be volunteering one of the Steelers home games, right?

  2. “Of course, the Steelers don’t have to worry about heading south of the border or anywhere else now, since their lease with Heinz Field requires them to play 10 games per year there.”

    ———————–

    I think you may have overlooked a small fact that the Steelers actually have a whole bunch of games not played at Heinz Field. You know. when they are the visitors?

    They can go to Mexico just like anyone else.

  3. The Steelers should play their home games there. Also, in 20 years most of the US will resemble Mexico and Central America, poor and dangerous. You will have the top one percent rich, the NFL owner types, with most of the country below the poverty level. We have lost the economic engines middle class in startling numbers since 2008. A whooping 20%.

  4. Don’t get me wrong I respect one of the few class and elite organizations in football. But playing overseas will diminish the sport here in the long run. If my team takes a home game away for overseas play we will turn our tickets back in and watch on TV, maybe.

  5. My boyfriend played in a semi-pro game in Mexico City last December and it was a complete disaster. The airport was basically a police state, half of their players were not permitted to enter the country and no fans or family members could attend. I realize that the NFL has a lot more pull and resources, but I can’t imagine it would be worth all of the hassle

  6. Nice trick, they found a way to avoid ever losing a home game to the NFL’s requirement that teams play in London.

  7. Of course, the Steelers don’t have to worry about heading south of the border or anywhere else now, since their lease with Heinz Field requires them to play 10 games per year there.

    —————————————————————

    Unless they are designated as the ‘away’ team.

  8. I’d hate to see the look on their faces when they think they’ll be seeing a soccer game because they saw “football” in the local paper.

  9. why were they allowed to sign a lease that precludes them from playing games abroad?

    what happens when every team does that?

  10. All owners are excited about exhibition games in foreign countries. This is about taking the NFL brand global and generating more revenue from marketing the products and future TV deals. Art Rooney should be waving his fingers near his ears like Johnny Manziel re making more pesos.

  11. Most of my Vikings are prohibited from traveling outside the US…so there’s that.

  12. All cities should write the stadium lease so that the team is required to play 10 games per year in the stadium. That would knock off all the London and Mexico City BS!

  13. I lived in Mexico City for seven years, near the Azteca Stadium. I never had a problem and the people really love the Steelers, I mean they would have a home game and tremendous support.

  14. People are generally not excited about playing games anywhere other then where there are currently a NFL is located.

  15. Imagine what happens when Commish Ginger Hammer finds out what happens to the balls at altitude. Komrad Wells is going to get a bigger fishing boat.

  16. That kind of lease agreement shouldn’t be allowed. The Steelers don’t ever give up home field advantage while it is fine for the Dolphins to give up a home game with a division rival (never been done before) to play in London. Granted, Ross excluded other games from the list to protect them, but division games should never be in the mix at all.

    If the league is comitted to marketing the game overseas wouldn’t it make more sense to send marketable match ups over there instead of teams like Miami, Jax or Oakland? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a single regular season or playoff game to be played overseas but the league seems to put forth hollow arguments. Play the pro – bowl there arguments term the superbowl

  17. I live on the border, have since 1969. When I was a kid, we used to go to Mexico all the time. There were nice shops in Progresso and Reynosa, and great fishing on the eastern beaches, flounder and blue crab. In high school, if you had a car or new anyone who had a car, you were at Eddie’s in Reynosa on Saturday night. That place was packed with kids from all over the Valley, because it had a large elevated dance floor, the DJ played rock and roll, it stayed open until 4:00, and it served alcohol (lower minimum age requirement). Those were the days.
    But Mexico was cool then. It was safe, and nobody got hassled. However, something happened in the 1980s. Think Miami Vice. The South American cartels used the Caribbean as their primary sea route for smuggling drugs into Florida, and from there to the rest of the country, mostly along the eastern seaboard. When the DEA and the Coast Guard shut down their sea route, the cartels simply shifted to a land route through Mexico. Soon, criminal gangs formed their own cartels in Mexico, and it’s become increasingly more and more dangerous ever since.
    The Mexican cartels are extremely violent and merciless. It’s not just drug smuggling, gun running and human trafficking, kidnappings are becoming more common. The wife and kids of a millionaire football player would fetch a heavy ransom in Mexico City, where the police are a corrupt as they come. There are shootings in the streets and severed heads being rolled out onto the dance floors at night clubs to intimidate civilians, and to make a statement to rival cartels. An American tourist in Mexico is now a target for kidnapping and ransom. Proof of life? These guys don’t send photos. They send an ear or a finger.
    Sorry to paint such a bleak picture of the situation, but it is the harsh reality. A couple of years ago, this tourist couple was taking a boat tour on the Rio Grande. They went into this scenic cove on the Mexican side and started taking pictures. They got a little too close to a cartel home and were blasted out of the water.
    That’s how bad it has gotten. Cartels opening fire on Border Patrol agents who are trying to shut down smuggling routes, from across the river.
    I haven’t been to Mexico since 1988. I thought I might do some shopping, but the taxis and busses were having some kind of war with each other, and they were driving around shooting at each other. I turned around and walked back, never to return. That bullet doesn’t know your name. And that was between taxis and busses! It’s far, far worse today.
    If I were a professional football player, I wouldn’t go to Mexico for vacation, much less a high-profile game.

  18. So, in an amazing twist of irony & hypocrisay, the family (Rooneys) that is the biggest proponent of expanding the game internationally by having teams give up home games, also signed a stadium lease that would prevent them from actually giving up one of their own home games. Sort of a “do as I say, not as I do.”

    That’s so absurd, that I’m not even mad. That’s just amazing. That piece of information is the biggest takeaway from the article.

  19. pixelito says:May 26, 2015 9:36 AM

    So, 300lb NFL football players are scared of some Mexicans?

    Doesn’t matter how big you are when someone has a gun pointed at your face, or kidnaps family members for ransom. We don’t hear about it as much in the NFL since the vast majority of players are Americans, but every few years in MLB we hear about players (or their family members) being kidnapped & held for ransom in their home contries in Latin America.

  20. Mexico City isn’t that dangerous, it’s the countryside you have to worry about.

  21. Yeah i bet most Americans will want to stay away from a cartel riddled country. I like my grape where its at. Inland Mexico your asking for it.

  22. The game played in Mexico would be a criminals paradise. A bunch of naive Americans arrive in their city with no bearings – and the NFL is even entertaining this?!

  23. Fans cant even afford to go to games IN THEIR OWN HOME TOWN, You want fans now to go to other countries ? Idiocy ! NO games should be played outside of the U.S. ! I’m a Steelers fan for 40 years, I’d NEVER pay for plane tickets to watch them anywhere ! It’s all about greed IMO. CASH.

  24. Mexico is okay. It doesn’t have the logistical problems of London. Who cares about the crowds at the stadium? This is a TV sport, nowadays.

  25. pixelito says: May 26, 2015 9:36 AM

    So, 300lb NFL football players are scared of some Mexicans?
    ———————————————
    Bullets still hurt

  26. “I live on the border, have since 1969. When I was a kid, we used to go to Mexico all the time…”

    It really is very bad in Mexico in general at this time, very, very bad. Mexico City, however, is off-limits to that kind of crime. It’s almost as if there were a pact to keep it so. In that way, Mexico City is no more dangerous than Detroit or New York. Stay clear of bad neighborhoods and you’ll most likely be fine.

  27. RegisHawk says:
    May 26, 2015 8:51 AM
    Nice trick, they found a way to avoid ever losing a home game to the NFL’s requirement that teams play in London.

    —————–

    No way that stops the NFL from getting the steelers to give up a home game if that is what they want.

  28. Over 20 million people live in Mexico City and its environs. There is absolutely no reason in the world the players shouldn’t bring their family members if they want. They would have a wonderful time, without a doubt. Mexico City is a marvelous city to visit and sightsee in. From the pyramids of Teotihuacán to the palaces of the Centro Histórico to the Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia to the canals of Xochimilco to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora Guadalupe to the houses of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and León Trotsky in Coyoacán, there are almost endless opportunities of culture and history and entertainment to enjoy in one of the very best cities in the world!

  29. theanalyticalkid says:
    May 26, 2015 10:01 AM
    Whatever happened to American Football being played exclusively in America!
    ——
    The lure of worldwide revenues.

  30. To play a game in Mexico is dangerous. That country is deficient in security when faced with cartels kidnapping and extortion. It’s sad because so much of the country is beautiful and many of the people are warm and friendly. If I were an NFL player i would say absolutely no-I will not play there.

  31. I respect and agree with Mr. Rooney most of the time., but not on this issue. Your team is in the NATIONAL league. You play in the AMERICAN conference! Stop playing outside the US. Money! Money! Money!

  32. Yes, there are Federales at the airport standing around with weapons but they no molesto las turistas. It’s casual. They stand around chatting with each other.

    Mexico City is a huge bustling city that is a great destination for travel. I think ignorance and xenophobia are over shadowing the general notion of what life is like there.

    Don’t deal drugs when your there and you’ll enjoy the culture, the food, the sights and la gente de Mexico. I enjoyed my stay.

  33. Mexico is a failed state, their law enforcement apparatus has failed, their military has failed, the leadership has failed, honestly if the cartels weren’t so interested in making US approved money (fast and furious?) they could probably topple the Mexican government.

  34. Lol of course no one is excited to play in Mexico or London or Brazil. The only ones are the owners and Greedy Goodell because they are raking in boatloads of cash.

    Does anyone know if clownshow Goodell goes to London for these London games? Im guessing he doesnt but he has no problem inconveniencing the players, their families and fans.

  35. Since the Steelers can’t play a home game outside of Heinz field (2 preseason, 8 regular season), the NFL should give Mexico City their next home playoff game.

    Maybe that will teach Rooney to shut his pie hole.

  36. Mexico is a nation built on soccer, just as the UK, albeit the British have taken some interest in “American” football. I suppose now that Goodell/NFL has relinquished their Tax Exempt Status, that this is nothing more than an attempt to recoup some of those “tax-free” dollars? (rolling eyes)

  37. IT SUCKS !!
    The NFL is only thinking about one thing, MONEY !
    What about the local people and businesses that depend on game day earnings and revenue ?
    They could give a rat’s a-s about the people.

    The NFL is going to be their own worst enemy in the end, alienating their own fan base. The day will come when we can’t afford to go watch games at the stadiums.
    Mark Cuban is right ! Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered.

  38. You say owners should be punished for taking chances on at risk players. Well, owners should be punished for bringing American fans to Mexico. The entire country is a toxic waste

    And please do not hand me Cabo and Puerta Vallarta. Both ok as long as you do not go 10 feet away from the city limit. The world has changed people. Even London in case anyone has not noticed. It’s all cool until you get on a bus and some towel headed punk passenger decides to pull the rio cord on 60 lbs of plastic explosive. No, screw Mexico and screw football in Europe.

    That’s why it’s called American Football. Screw this international garbage

  39. The Steelers should not receive any revenue from the overseas games if they refuse to give up a home game.

  40. Mexico is great place for the NFL, if you can ignore the drug cartels and murders, stagnant economy and archaic infrastructure.

    Is it no wonder they care so much about immigration reform?

  41. Fans, we ALL on a collaborative effort, need to not watch ANY of these overseas/across the border games. We have a huge say on what happens in the NFL, we just need to be united and on the same page. The NFL is all about money – let’s not forget that it is us who is paying them!

  42. “theanalyticalkid says:
    May 26, 2015 10:01 AM
    Whatever happened to American Football being played exclusively in America!
    ——
    The lure of worldwide revenues.”

    Agreed. Whatever happened to Canadian Hockey being played exclusively in Canada?

    I’m not a big fan of hockey, nor am I a fan (more like an anti-fan) of the NFL playing outside the country, but stopping the growth of a multi-billion dollar industry is an unrealistic proposition. Money drives business. More money drives bigger business. And the NFL is nothing if not a big business. Inconvenience to families, even the loss of lives (if that proves to be the case) will be acceptable to the NFL, as “collateral damage”

    Seriously, does anybody really think that multiple games can be played in London every year, on into infinity, without one of those Trans Atlantic flights going down (for whatever reason) and taking an entire NFL team with it. I am not making a threat, in any sense of the word, but you have to admit that the odds are not good that such a thing will never happen. And with every flight, the odds become shorter, not longer.

    The same can be said for the first player to die on field during an NFL game. It will happen eventually, it has to; the odds get shorter every Sunday.

  43. There’s only one reason to do this, and that would be Terry Bradshaw trying to say “Mehico” during a halftime show.

  44. Can someone explain how they would make more money playing over seas ? What pays more where you lose suite revenue plus game tickets, beer, etc…

  45. Posters are reacting as if the Steelers have never played over seas or abroad? For all of you posters claiming that if this is what Mr. Rooney wants, then the Steelers should play in Mexico. You do realize the Steelers played in London 2 years ago, as well as playing in Mexico, and Ireland before that? And the Steelers lease states 10 games at Heinz field, that means 2 preseason and 8 regular season games. Also that still leaves 8 away games that can be played in another country. I’m pretty sure Mr. Rooney wouldn’t have brought up the topic of playing more games abroad, without factoring in the Steelers being one of the teams to play there. Face it the owners for good or bad of the stateside fans, want to expand their brand to include other countries.

  46. FinFan68 says:
    May 26, 2015 9:31 AM
    That kind of lease agreement shouldn’t be allowed. The Steelers don’t ever give up home field advantage while it is fine for the Dolphins to give up a home game with a division rival (never been done before) to play in London. Granted, Ross excluded other games from the list to protect them, but division games should never be in the mix at all.

    ——-

    While I agree, and realize that the Bills in Toronto disaster was the Bills’ own doing, the Dolphins (and Jets) benefited from playing “at” Buffalo in the Skydome, full of silent people in random Cowboys and Falcons jerseys.

  47. Goodell you don’t need more games outside the U.S. You are popular enough. Maybe China next or Japan…. how about Iceland. Or how about this keep them in country where the teams fans can actually go to the games.

  48. No player has been kidnapped or shot in Mexico city as far as I know…

    Just stop watching too much TV already.

  49. granadafan says:
    May 26, 2015 12:13 PM
    The Steelers should not receive any revenue from the overseas games if they refuse to give up a home game.

    Has nothin to do with refusal? In fact the steelers have played in Mexico City, Spain and I believe Germany as well. The issue is that the Steelers signed a lease many years ago which requires them to play at Heinz 10 games. They can be an away team like they were in London 2 years ago but that is it. Playoff games are not going to be played overseas ever by any team unless the playoff team happens to be based there.

  50. Fans, we ALL on a collaborative effort, need to not watch ANY of these overseas/across the border games. We have a huge say on what happens in the NFL, we just need to be united and on the same page. The NFL is all about money – let’s not forget that it is us who is paying them!

    Having us not watch these games will have no affect. There are thousands and thousands of people overseas that pay to appear at these games and the players are swarmed by the foreign media. It is out of our control here.

  51. It’d be a far shorter list to name everybody who is excited about having a game in Mexico.

  52. Why is it so hard to understand? Heinz field was approved by voters and taxpayer money was used to help build it. Hence, the lease requires the steelers to play 10 home games there excluding playoffs. Steelers signed this lease and they have to abide by it. They can however be an away team which benefits the league too because the steelers have a huge following in Mexico, Europe and Asia.

  53. Bettis was also concerned that Dr. Rydze couldn’t sneak the good steroids across the border and they’d have to rely on street stuff.

    Perspicacious as ever, you’re welcome.

  54. I find it ridiculous how much ignorance exists in the image of Mexico, especially Mexico City. However, I don’t know what I expected from people who are reading this article.

  55. Jeez some of you Americans need to get out more. I know you basically have just about everything you could possibly want but don’t judge everybody else because of what he says/ she says. But I do have one piece of advice if you guys that do travel outside the good old US of A don’t drink so much, leave that to the Brits we have been making fools of ourselves across Europe for years and going by my experience in Mexico just a few weeks ago it looks like you guys might have some competition when we do invade proper in the coming years. Mexico is still a nice place for now. Lol

  56. Just Greed Baby!!! I can’t believe the Chiefs have to play in London as a home team…lol They have the best fans in the league…
    –Raider fan

  57. I live in México city and honestly there is crime like in any other big city but its not like you have to walk looking over your shoulder there are some áreas that are dangeareus, Steelers players have not hunt to worry México is Steelers Nation .

  58. Just had a laugh at one or two posts up there and you could be mistaken for thinking some of you were taking about American cities if you believed how the media reports some of the shenanigans going on in recent times. I don’t think applying for a job with the Mexican tourist board would be a good idea.

  59. I’d love to see the Steelers play an away game there. Hell it would be like another home game. VIVA STEELERS!

  60. It’d be safer to have a game in Cuba, actually. And the NFL might actually be able to sell a few million jerseys there and set up NFL Ticket and hoard even more revenue.

  61. Mexico is an untested market but geographically proximate to Texas & California, so if the NFL wanted to play in another country then it would make much more sense to try games there rather than London or other European cities where there is clearly no real interest for the game (NFL Europe was an abject failure).

  62. The name is the “National” Football League…not the “International” Football League. Soccer already holds that moniker.

    Games outside of the U.S. are just dumb & I have no interest in watching.

  63. I’m all for free enterprise, but trying to attract other countries to the NFL and using taxpayer money to build stadiums does not bode well for the American consumer.

  64. Exactly what our troops fight for, the ability to send our game and revenues to another country so a few already rich dudes make more money. Thanks NFL for your continued effort to pee on your American fans who put you on the map.

  65. And this is why Americans have a world reputation for being ignorant when it comes to anywhere outside ‘Murica. Mexico City is perfectly safe to travel to so long as you do some research before you go and stay out of the shady areas….no different than any major city in the USA.

  66. First, the Steelers get pillaged by the Vikings in London. Now, they want someone to mash them into guacamole in Mexico City? You’d think they wouldn’t want to go global with the news that they’re one of the 8 sad teams in the AFC that hasn’t won a playoff game in four and a half years. LOL.

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