Fútbol Americano

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Fútbol Americano
Fútbol Americano logo
Fútbol Americano logo
1 2 3 4 Total
SF 14 0 0 0 14
AZ 0 12 6 13 31
Date October 2, 2005
Stadium Estadio Azteca
Location Mexico City
Referee Ed Hochuli
Attendance 103,467
Network ESPN
Announcers Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, and Paul Maguire

"Fútbol Americano" was the marketing name used for the first-ever National Football League regular season game ever held outside the United States.[1] Played on October 2, 2005 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31–14. The game drew an NFL regular season record of 103,467 paid fans.[2]

The name "Fútbol Americano" is Spanish for "American football," a term used to distinguish it from fútbol, which is Spanish for association football (soccer in American English). Fútbol is an approximation of the English word "football" to the Spanish phonology; a more literal translation of "foot ball" is balompié,[3] a calque term that is not used nowadays in Spanish speaking country other than for stylistic purposes in media.[4]


Beginning in 1986, the league held a series of annual pre-season exhibition games, called American Bowls, that were held at international sites outside the United States.[5] Several years later in his annual news conference prior to Super Bowl XXXIX in February 2005, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that the league was considering holding regular season games outside the United States, with Toronto and Mexico City as the primary candidates.[2]

In March, the league announced that the first NFL regular season game outside the United States was to be played on October 2, with the Cardinals facing the 49ers in Mexico City.[6] It was scheduled as a home game for the Cardinals, mostly because the team rarely sold out at their then-home field, Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.[6]

To mark this historic game, all NFL players during that weekend wore "Fútbol Americano" stickers on their helmets, while "Fútbol Americano" banners were placed in all league stadiums.[1] (In the 2012 season, home team stadiums had "Fútbol Americano" stencils, goalpost wraps and banners placed in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.)[7] The league does not consider this 49ers-Cardinals game in Mexico City as an "American Bowl",[5] nor officially lists it as part of the NFL International Series (see below).[8][9]

Game summary[edit]

The San Francisco 49ers got all the momentum scoring two fumble returns for touchdowns and taking a 14–0 lead with 7:57 to play in the first quarter. However, San Francisco would never score again. In the second quarter, the Arizona Cardinals scored two field goals and a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald with an unsuccessful two-point conversion to still trail 14–12 at halftime. Kicker Neil Rackers, who scored two field goals in the second quarter, scored two more in the third to take an 18–14 lead. Arizona then dominated the fourth quarter, as they scored a field goal (21–14), a touchdown (28–14), and another field goal to win the game, 31–14.

The football used on the opening kickoff was later sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[10]

Scoring summary[edit]

  • 1st Quarter
    • SF – D. Smith fumble recovery in end zone (J. Nedney kick), 49ers 7–0.
    • SF – D. Johnson 78 yd. fumble return (J. Nedney kick), 49ers 14–0.
  • 2nd Quarter
    • AZ – FG N. Rackers 40, 49ers 14–3. Drive: 12 plays, 66 yards, 4:56.
    • AZ – FG N. Rackers 45, 49ers 14–6. Drive: 8 plays, 50 yards, 3:55.
    • AZ – L. Fitzgerald 17 pass from J. McCown (pass failed), 49ers 14–12. Drive: 7 plays, 69 yards, 1:03.
  • 3rd Quarter
    • AZ – FG N. Rackers 48, Cardinals 15–14. Drive: 6 plays, 47 yards, 3:17.
    • AZ – FG N. Rackers 23, Cardinals 18–14. Drive: 8 plays, 44 yards, 4:04.
  • 4th Quarter
    • AZ – FG N. Rackers 43, Cardinals 21–14. Drive: 7 plays, 26 yards, 3:02.
    • AZ – A. Boldin 27 pass from J. McCown (N. Rackers kick), Cardinals 28–14. Drive: 5 plays, 35 yards, 2:47.
    • AZ – FG N. Rackers 24, Cardinals 31–14. Drive: 4 plays, 7 yards, 1:41.


After the success of the 2005 Fútbol Americano game, the NFL began holding more regular season games outside the United States. Beginning with the 2007 season, the league has hosted games every year at London's Wembley Stadium in a series known as the International Series. Since the 2008 season, the Buffalo Bills have played a regular season game at Toronto's Rogers Centre in what is known as the Bills Toronto Series.

To this day, the 2005 Fútbol Americano game is one of only two NFL games played outside the US to have aired on American national television, the other being a New York Jets-Buffalo Bills game in Toronto in 2009, which aired on NFL Network. All of the other Bills Toronto Series games, and all the International Series games, have been regionally televised like any other NFL Sunday afternoon game.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "History to be made in Mexico City". NFL.com. 2005-09-28. Archived from the original on 2006-06-25. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  2. ^ a b "Cardinals handle 49ers in Mexico 31–14". NFL.com. 2005-10-02. Archived from the original on 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  3. ^ balompié. Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy
  4. ^ Uses of the form fútbol. Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts
  5. ^ a b 2006 NFL Record and Fact Book. p. 616. ISBN 1-933405-32-5. 
  6. ^ a b "Mexico could be host to regular-season game". NFL.com. 2005-03-15. Retrieved 2006-08-07. [dead link]
  7. ^ "NFL's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month". NFL.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  8. ^ Breer, Albert (2013-09-27). "NFL's future in London, Joe Philbin's winning ways and more". National Football League. Retrieved 2013-10-27. London's Wembley Stadium has been the site for every International Series game played thus far. 
  9. ^ "2014 International Series Games Confirmed" (Press release). NFL. 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  10. ^ "Ball from historic Mexico City game arrives in Canton". Pro Football Hall of Fame. 2005-10-05. Retrieved 2006-08-07.