List of National Football League games played outside the United States

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The National Football League (NFL) has played numerous games outside of the United States. All of the league's current and former teams have been based in the contiguous United States, with only the Pro Bowl played in a non-contiguous U.S. state (Hawaii).

Canadian Football League interleague games[edit]

Six games held in Canada between 1950 and 1961 pitted NFL teams against Canadian Football League (CFL) (or precursor) teams with the NFL team winning all six. These games were a hybrid of American and Canadian football. Ottawa hosted the first two games, while Toronto hosted three of the remaining four and Montreal held one; the first game ever held in Toronto featuring an NFL team was in August 1959 and inaugurated the city's Exhibition Stadium. One game was played between the AFL's Buffalo Bills and CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats in August 1961, with Hamilton winning 38–21. There was also a game in 1960 that pitted the Chicago Bears against the New York Giants played in Toronto; this was in return for a 1958 CFL matchup that was played in Philadelphia.

The Western Interprovincial Football Union (later the Western Conference of the CFL) was never involved in interleague play with the NFL, although its teams occasionally played members of other rival U.S. leagues in the circuit's early years. At the time, the Western teams were still struggling to gain recognition within Canada as the Eastern Conference's competitive equal. A more practical factor inhibiting Western interleague play with the NFL was the prohibitive amount of time it would have taken to travel by rail from an NFL city to Western Canada for an exhibition game (the CFL did not even implement regular season interconference play until air travel came to be seen as a safe means on transport in the 1960s). Also, by the 1950s the West was already playing its regular season in August while the Eastern Conference still started its season around the same time as the NFL.

Global Cup[edit]

In the summer of 1983 an English entrepreneur named John Marshall hired Wembley Stadium and brought the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Cardinals over to play a pre-season exhibition game called The Global Cup. Just over 30,000 fans turned out that day to witness the game. In 1984, Marshall invited the United States Football League's Tampa Bay Bandits and Philadelphia Stars to play a post season exhibition game in July.

American Bowl[edit]

The American Bowl was a series of NFL pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States between 1986 and 2005. The league started the American Bowl series in 1986 primarily to promote American football in other countries. The American Bowl was a fifth pre-season game, played the same weekend as the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, and did not take away a game from the participating teams' pre-season schedules. At least one American Bowl game was played annually from 1986 to 2003. As many as four were played per year in the early 1990s. There was no American Bowl game played in 2004. The last American Bowl was held in 2005. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cited the league's new international strategy in the abandonment of international pre-season games as well as the closure of NFL Europe, instead focusing on playing regular season games in foreign countries. There have been three international pre-season games during the American Bowl era that did not receive the American Bowl name because they were not arranged by the NFL but, rather, the scheduled home team elected to play there.

China Bowl[edit]

The China Bowl was the name of a proposed NFL pre-season exhibition game that had been scheduled to take place in August 2007, but later postponed to August 2009 so that more focus could be placed on the start of the International Series,[1][2] and ultimately canceled, between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the National Stadium in Beijing.[3] The originally scheduled China Bowl was to be played at Workers Stadium in Beijing, China, on August 8, 2007. The game was to kick-off the one-year countdown before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and would have been the first NFL-sanctioned game to take place in China.[4]

Fútbol Americano[edit]

On October 2, 2005, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 31–14 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, under the name NFL Fútbol Americano. It was the first regular season NFL game held outside of the United States.[5] The game drew the NFL's highest game attendance at the time with 103,467 spectators.[5][6]

NFL International Series[edit]

Beginning with the 2007 season, the National Football League has hosted regular season American football games outside of the United States every year in a series known as the International Series. Wembley Stadium, in London, United Kingdom, was the first location to host the series, staging at least one game every year since the series began.

In October 2015 the league announced that a resolution had been passed approving continuing the International Series until 2025, and expanding it to include games in international cities outside the United Kingdom.[7] The NFL has an agreement to play at least two games per year at Wembley until 2020, with the Jacksonville Jaguars relocating a home game there annually throughout the agreement.[8] In addition, three to five games are scheduled to take place at England rugby's Twickenham Stadium between 2016 and 2018,[9] while at least two games per year are planned to be played at the new stadium at Northumberland Development Project between 2018 and 2027 as part of an agreement with Tottenham Hotspur.[10]

Additional markets under consideration included Mexico, Germany and Canada.[11] On February 5, 2016, it was announced that the Oakland Raiders would host the Houston Texans on November 21, 2016 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico.[12] On November 19, 2017, the Estadio Azteca hosted a regular season Sunday afternoon game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders.

Bills Toronto Series[edit]

The Bills Toronto Series was an agreement between the Buffalo Bills and Rogers Communications to host a series of Bills National Football League games at the Rogers Centre in nearby Toronto, Ontario, Canada in an attempt by the team to broaden its fan base. The Bills Toronto Series was distinct from the NFL International Series because it is arranged by an individual team rather than the league.

The series was conceived by a group that included then Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Ted Rogers of Rogers Communications and Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.[13] During the original five-year deal, which began with the 2008 season, the Bills played one regular season home game per year as well as a pre-season home game at Rogers Centre in 2008 and 2010, for a total of seven games in Toronto.[14] A pre-season game originally planned for 2012 was cancelled, as home games for the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Argonauts[15] and a Bruce Springsteen concert[16] conflicted with the NFL pre-season. In 2013, the series was renewed for five more years through 2017. The new deal featured one regular season game each year plus a pre-season game in 2015.[17][18] However, following the first contest in 2013 it was announced that Rogers and the Bills had postponed the series for a year,[19] and several months later, following the sale of the Bills to new ownership, the parties reached an agreement to cancel the Toronto Series permanently.[20]

Impact on teams[edit]

Teams that have had the scheduling disadvantage of giving up a home game to participate in the series, resulting in seven home games, eight away games and one neutral site game, have seen a significant disparity in their success relative to the designated visitors, who end up with eight home games, seven away games and one neutral site game. For the 18 regular season games played outside the United States through 2015, 20 of the 21 designated home teams failed to reach the playoffs while 11 of the 21 designated visitors reached the postseason that year. In 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs became the first designated home team to go on to reach the playoffs.[21][not in citation given]

List of games[edit]

Below is a list of games played outside the United States by teams from the NFL, and its precursor leagues the American Football League of 1926 (AFL 1926), All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and American Football League (AFL) from which the NFL absorbed teams.[22][23][24]

Legend
Season Date Series Type Winning/Tied Team Score Losing/Tied Team Stadium City Country Ref
1926 November 8 REG New York Yankees (AFL 1926) 28–0 Los Angeles Wildcats (AFL 1926) Maple Leaf Stadium Toronto  Canada [25]
1948 August 19 CFL INT Brooklyn Dodgers (AAFC) 27–1 Montreal Alouettes (CFL) Delorimier Stadium Montreal  Canada [26][27][28]
1950 August 12 CFL INT New York Giants 27–6 Ottawa Rough Riders (CFL) Lansdowne Park Ottawa  Canada [29]
1951 August 11 CFL INT New York Giants 41–18 Ottawa Rough Riders (CFL) Lansdowne Park Ottawa  Canada [30]
1959 August 5 CFL INT Chicago Cardinals 55–26 Toronto Argonauts (CFL) Exhibition Stadium Toronto  Canada
1960 August 3 CFL INT Pittsburgh Steelers 43–16 Toronto Argonauts (CFL) Exhibition Stadium Toronto  Canada
August 15 EXH Chicago Bears 16–7 New York Giants Varsity Stadium Toronto  Canada
August 29 EXH Dallas Cowboys Cancelled New York Giants Delorimier Stadium Montreal  Canada [31][32][33]
1961 August 2 CFL INT St. Louis Cardinals 36–7 Toronto Argonauts (CFL) Exhibition Stadium Toronto  Canada
August 5 CFL INT Chicago Bears 34–16 Montreal Alouettes (CFL) Molson Stadium Montreal  Canada [34]
August 8 CFL INT Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL) 38–21 Buffalo Bills (AFL) Civic Stadium Hamilton  Canada
1968 August 11 EXH Detroit Lions Cancelled Philadelphia Eagles Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico [35]
1969 August 25 INT Detroit Lions 22–9 Boston Patriots (AFL) Jarry Park Montreal  Canada [36][37]
September 11 EXH Pittsburgh Steelers 17–13 New York Giants Jarry Park Montreal  Canada [36]
1976 August 16 MSB EXH St. Louis Cardinals 20–10 San Diego Chargers Korakuen Stadium Tokyo  Japan [38][39]
1978 August 5 EXH New Orleans Saints 14–7 Philadelphia Eagles Estadio Olímpico de la Ciudad de los Deportes Mexico City  Mexico [40]
1983 August 6 GC EXH Minnesota Vikings 28–10 St. Louis Cardinals Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom [41]
1986 August 3 AB EXH Chicago Bears 17–6 Dallas Cowboys Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
1987 August 9 AB EXH Los Angeles Rams 28–27 Denver Broncos Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
1988 July 31 AB EXH Miami Dolphins 27–21 San Francisco 49ers Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
August 14 VAFC EXH Minnesota Vikings 28–21 Chicago Bears Ullevi Stadium Göteborg  Sweden [42][43]
August 18 MC EXH New York Jets 11–7 Cleveland Browns Olympic Stadium Montreal  Canada [44][45]
August 27 EXH Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cancelled Buffalo Bills Exhibition Stadium Toronto  Canada [46]
1989 August 6 AB EXH Los Angeles Rams 16–13 (OT) San Francisco 49ers Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 6 AB EXH Philadelphia Eagles 17–13 Cleveland Browns Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
1990 August 5 AB EXH Denver Broncos 10–7 Seattle Seahawks Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47][48]
August 5 AB EXH New Orleans Saints 17–10 Los Angeles Raiders Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
August 9 AB EXH Pittsburgh Steelers 30–14 New England Patriots Olympic Stadium Montreal  Canada
August 11 AB EXH Los Angeles Rams 19–3 Kansas City Chiefs Olympiastadion West Berlin  West Berlin
1991 July 28 AB EXH Buffalo Bills 17–13 Philadelphia Eagles Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
August 3 AB EXH San Francisco 49ers 21–7 Chicago Bears Olympiastadion Berlin  Germany
August 4 AB EXH Miami Dolphins 19–17 Los Angeles Raiders Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
1992 August 2 AB EXH Houston Oilers 34–23 Dallas Cowboys Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 15 AB EXH Miami Dolphins 31–27 Denver Broncos Olympiastadion Berlin  Germany
August 16 AB EXH San Francisco 49ers 17–15 Washington Redskins Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
1993 August 1 AB EXH New Orleans Saints 28–16 Philadelphia Eagles Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 1 AB EXH San Francisco 49ers 21–14 Pittsburgh Steelers Estadi Olímpic Barcelona  Spain
August 7 AB EXH Minnesota Vikings 20–6 Buffalo Bills Olympiastadion Berlin  Germany
August 8 AB EXH Dallas Cowboys 13–13 (OT) Detroit Lions Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
August 14 EXH Cleveland Browns 12–9 New England Patriots SkyDome Toronto  Canada
1994 July 31 AB EXH Los Angeles Raiders 25–22 (OT) Denver Broncos Estadi Olímpic Barcelona  Spain
August 7 AB EXH Minnesota Vikings 17–9 Kansas City Chiefs Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 13 AB EXH New York Giants 28–20 San Diego Chargers Olympiastadion Berlin  Germany
August 15 AB EXH Houston Oilers 6–0 Dallas Cowboys Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico
1995 August 6 AB EXH Denver Broncos 24–10 San Francisco 49ers Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 12 AB EXH Buffalo Bills 9–7 Dallas Cowboys SkyDome Toronto  Canada
1996 July 28 AB EXH San Diego Chargers 20–10 Pittsburgh Steelers Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 5 AB EXH Kansas City Chiefs 32–6 Dallas Cowboys Estadio Universitario Monterrey  Mexico
1997 July 27 AB EXH Pittsburgh Steelers 30–17 Chicago Bears Croke Park Dublin  Ireland
August 4 AB EXH Miami Dolphins 38–19 Denver Broncos Estadio Guillermo Cañedo Mexico City  Mexico
August 16 AB EXH Green Bay Packers 35–3 Buffalo Bills SkyDome Toronto  Canada
1998 August 2 AB EXH Green Bay Packers 27–24 (OT) Kansas City Chiefs Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 15 AB EXH San Francisco 49ers 24–21 Seattle Seahawks BC Place Stadium Vancouver  Canada
August 17 AB EXH New England Patriots 21–3 Dallas Cowboys Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico
1999 August 8 AB EXH Denver Broncos 20–17 San Diego Chargers Stadium Australia Sydney  Australia
2000 August 6 AB EXH Atlanta Falcons 20–9 Dallas Cowboys Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
August 19 AB EXH Indianapolis Colts 24–23 Pittsburgh Steelers Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico
2001 August 27 AB EXH Dallas Cowboys 21–6 Oakland Raiders Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico
2002 August 3 AB EXH Washington Redskins 38–7 San Francisco 49ers Osaka Dome Osaka  Japan [47]
2003 August 2 AB EXH Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30–14 New York Jets Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan
2005 August 6 AB EXH Atlanta Falcons 27–21 Indianapolis Colts Tokyo Dome Tokyo  Japan [47]
October 2 FA REG Arizona Cardinals 31–14 San Francisco 49ers Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico
2007 August 8 CB EXH Seattle Seahawks Cancelled New England Patriots Workers' Stadium Beijing  China
October 28 IS REG New York Giants 13–10 Miami Dolphins Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
2008 August 14 BTS EXH Buffalo Bills 24–21 Pittsburgh Steelers Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [49]
October 26 IS REG New Orleans Saints 37–32 San Diego Chargers Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
December 7 BTS REG Miami Dolphins 16–3 Buffalo Bills Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [50]
2009 October 25 IS REG New England Patriots 35–7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
December 3 BTS REG New York Jets 19–13 Buffalo Bills Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [51]
2010 August 19 BTS EXH Buffalo Bills 34–21 Indianapolis Colts Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [52]
October 31 IS REG San Francisco 49ers 24–16 Denver Broncos Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
November 7 BTS REG Chicago Bears 22–19 Buffalo Bills Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [53]
2011 October 23 IS REG Chicago Bears 24–18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 30 BTS REG Buffalo Bills 23–0 Washington Redskins Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [54]
2012 October 28 IS REG New England Patriots 45–7 St. Louis Rams Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
December 16 BTS REG Seattle Seahawks 50–17 Buffalo Bills Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [55]
2013 September 29 IS REG Minnesota Vikings 34–27 Pittsburgh Steelers Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 27 IS REG San Francisco 49ers 42–10 Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom [56]
December 1 BTS REG Atlanta Falcons 34–31 (OT) Buffalo Bills Rogers Centre Toronto  Canada [57]
2014 September 28 IS REG Miami Dolphins 38–14 Oakland Raiders Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 26 IS REG Detroit Lions 22–21 Atlanta Falcons Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom [58]
November 9 IS REG Dallas Cowboys 31–17 Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom [59]
2015 October 4 IS REG New York Jets 27–14 Miami Dolphins Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 25 IS REG Jacksonville Jaguars 34–31 Buffalo Bills Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
November 1 IS REG Kansas City Chiefs 45–10 Detroit Lions Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom [60]
2016 October 2 IS REG Jacksonville Jaguars 30-27 Indianapolis Colts Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 23 IS REG New York Giants 17–10 Los Angeles Rams Twickenham Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 30 IS REG Washington Redskins 27–27 (OT) Cincinnati Bengals Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
November 21 IS REG Oakland Raiders 27–20 Houston Texans Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico
2017 September 24 IS REG Jacksonville Jaguars 44-7 Baltimore Ravens Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 1 IS REG New Orleans Saints 20-0 Miami Dolphins Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 22 IS REG Los Angeles Rams 33-0 Arizona Cardinals Twickenham Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 29 IS REG Minnesota Vikings 33-16 Cleveland Browns Twickenham Stadium London  United Kingdom
November 19 IS REG New England Patriots 33–8 Oakland Raiders Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico
2018 October 14 IS REG Oakland Raiders Seattle Seahawks Tottenham Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 21/28 IS REG Jacksonville Jaguars Philadelphia Eagles Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
October 21/28 IS REG Los Angeles Chargers Tennessee Titans Wembley Stadium London  United Kingdom
TBD IS REG Los Angeles Rams Kansas City Chiefs Estadio Azteca Mexico City  Mexico

Number of games by city[edit]

City Country NFL Predecessor leagues TOT
REG EXH TOT INT TOT REG INT TOT TOT
Barcelona  Spain 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 2
Berlin[Note 1]  Germany 0 5 5 0 5 0 0 0 5
Dublin  Ireland 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Göteborg  Sweden 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Hamilton  Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
London  United Kingdom 24 9 33 0 33 0 0 0 33
Mexico City  Mexico 4 6 10 0 10 0 0 0 10
Monterrey  Mexico 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Montreal  Canada 0 3 3 2 5 0 1 1 6
Osaka  Japan 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Ottawa  Canada 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2
Sydney  Australia 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Tokyo  Japan 0 13 13 0 13 0 0 0 13
Toronto  Canada 6 6 12 3 15 1 0 1 16
Vancouver  Canada 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Notes
  1. ^ Includes one game played in West Berlin, West Germany prior to German reunification.

List of college football games played outside the United States

References[edit]

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