The NFL has decided its three games in London for 2016, and the Green Bay Packers will not be playing in any of them.
That does not mean, however, that international regular season games are completely out of the Packers' itinerary.
NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that the league is working on "a logistics issue" which, if solved, would let them play a game in Mexico City next November. It would likely be played in Azteca Stadium, which holds the NFL record for largest crowd for any league game. 112,376 fans saw the Dallas Cowboys and then-Houston Oilers play a preseason game in August of 1994.
The Packers are one of the league's top international viewership draws. Team president Mark Murphy has repeatedly said they would be willing to take part in an international game, but as the road team so that they would not give up a Lambeau Field home game.
The question would be which potential Packers opponent would be willing to give up a home game to play in Mexico City.
The current slate of Packers road opponents include:
- Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota within the NFC North
- Philadelphia and Washington in the NFC East
- Jacksonville and Tennessee in the AFC South
- An NFC South opponent to be determined based on 2015 records. As of now, that would be the Carolina Panthers, as both teams currently reside in first place in their divisions.
Jacksonville would theoretically be the most likely opponent, but they have been guaranteed a home game in London and would not be likely to play two international games. Washington will also be playing in London next year as a road team against Cincinnati.
That leaves Green Bay's divisional brethren, Philadelphia, Tennessee and probably Carolina as potential Mexico City opponents if the game is to transpire.
The Cowboys are the most likely team which the NFL would select to play in Mexico City, as they traditionally have had the largest fan base in Mexico. However, an NFC East opponent (to be determined based on record) has been slated to play St. Louis in London next October, and the league probably would not risk the possibility of asking Dallas to play two international games.
With that Rams opponent not being decided until January, the NFL could either:
- Wait until January to announce the Mexico matchup, if it happens
- Decide soon on another matchup in order to pre-sell the trip to fans traveling from America and around the world.