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, a calque term that is not used nowadays in Spanish speaking country other than for stylistic purposes in media.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. (In the 2012 season, home team stadiums had "Fútbol Americano" stencils, goalpost wraps and banners placed in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.) The league does not consider this 49ers-Cardinals game in Mexico City as an "American Bowl", nor officially lists it as part of the NFL International Series (see below).
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.
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.