New York- We are approximately 120 days away from the NFL season kickoff on Thursday, September 8th. Football fans have been counting the days off their calendars for the start of the NFL season. Rather than reminisce about Football Sundays and how insane the offseason has been in a variety of mega-trades and signings. Let’s get into the details of the league’s worldwide announcement from last week. The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently announced five international games are set to take place throughout the 2022 season (3 in London, 1 in Munich, 1 in Mexico City).
The NFL Becoming a Global Game
London – Week 4, Week 5, Week 8
Week 4 @ Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 5 @ Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 8 @ Wembley Stadium: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Denver Broncos
Munich – Week 10
Week 10 @ Allianz Arena: Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mexico City – Week 11
Week 11 @ Estadio Azteca: Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers
The matchup that catches my attention in this slate of games is Week 11 in Mexico City. First off, the NFL is expanding their product by having games be played in countries across the world is a touchdown on all phases. These events in London, Munich as well as Mexico City reach new audiences with individuals who are not accustomed to American Football live in person. Once fans step into the atmosphere at Estadio Azteca for Cardinals 49ers, they’ll be searching on their smartphones for the next time the NFL comes to Mexico City.
Fans in Europe and Latin America contain that genuine love, intensity and passion for their beloved team and ultimately the sport all in all. You see it during soccer games all the time. Regardless of the weather or specific matchup, international fans will swarm into the stadium and make an impact on the game with their authentic loud chants, music, horns, cowbells and much more.
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker, Fred Warner has made a name for himself on the field with his defensive tenacity and durability. The All-Pro talent has played in 64 games throughout his four year career, which marks only one game missed dating back to 2018. Warner, who is of Mexican Panamanian descent, grew up in San Marcos, California. Warner expressed his thoughts on the 9ers heading to Mexico City: “I’m very excited. I think the whole team is excited, the whole organization. The ability to come to Mexico and play in front of one of the greatest fan bases in the world. I know there is a lot of love for the 9ers out there.”
Warner added his perspective on Estadio Azteca: “I did hear that it’s a very big stadium. 85,000 fans, a very big stadium. Lots of fans, you know, I like playing in venues like that, where lots of fans are screaming their heads off. It’s just a fun atmosphere to play in. I’m just looking forward to it.”
The NFL scheduling this matchup on the Week 11 slate is yet another victory for the league. This time period of the season is the beginning of a team’s destined run to a playoff berth. Entering Week 11, many teams most likely will be of the 5-5, 6-4, 4-6 record range. Creating a playoff-type atmosphere each and every game, whether it’s all day on Sundays, Monday nights or Thursday nights. To refresh our memory, let’s look back on how the Cardinals and 49ers postseason runs came to an end.
Arizona Cardinals 2021 Result: 11-6 record, 4th seed in NFC
Lost 34-11 to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Wild Card Weekend
San Francisco 49ers 2021 Result: 10-7 record, 6th seed in NFC
Lost 20-17 to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game
To start off, this is a showdown between two NFC West bitter rivals who have no love for one another. Arizona’s franchise QB, Kyler Murray will take on an elite pass rush defense in Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and Arik Armstead. Top tier receiving talents in 49ers Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Cardinals DeAndre Hopkins with newly acquired Marquise “Hollywood” Brown should make for a high powering offensive affair. The QB room in San Francisco is abundant with recent performances from Jimmy Garoppolo as young 22-year old Trey Lance awaits his on-the-field opportunity. Each and every matchup between the Cardinals-49ers lives up to the hype.
This NFC West is no joke. Three teams in this division appeared in January football during last year’s playoffs (LA Rams, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers). The NFC West combined for 40 wins last season, ranking up as the top division across the NFL (Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, Cardinals). Due to each team’s offseason moves, the NFC West can shape up to be once again, the leagues most competitive and exciting division this go-round.
Don’t be surprised if we see a majority of teams from the NFC West in January competing in the playoffs. The NFL plans to release the full 2022 regular season schedule tomorrow night, Thursday, May 12th at 8pm on NFL Network.
Watch Robert Rizzo and Rich Mancuso each Tuesday evening live at 10pm on ParrotTV – “Sports With Rich” YouTube Live. Like, comment, subscribe.
Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports
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