Cowboys Playing An NFL Game In Mexico? There’s Only One Problem

Mike Fisher

DeMarcus Lawrence is right: The Dallas Cowboys participating in an NFL regular-season game in Mexico City does seem like a natural. Or even, as Tank calls it, a "no-brainer.''

But in reality, Cowboys ownership has a big-brained reason for harboring some reservations here. And the big-brained reason is a big-wallet reason.

Commissioner Roger Goodell held his annual State of the Union Super Bowl press conference this week and announced that the league will return to Mexico City. The plan has the NFL staging a regular-season game in Estadio Azteca in both 2020 and 2021.

"NFL,'' Lawrence shouted out to the league on Twitter following the announcement. Do I need to even say it? Dallas Cowboys in Mexico is a no brainer! Vamos! Si se puede!''

"C'mon! Yes we can do this!'' is the loose translation of Tank's plea. (I think.)

In fact, the Cowboys have indeed participated in similar programs before. In the early 1990's they went to Tokyo. They've played in London twice in the last 30 years, including in a regular-season game. And specific to Mexico City, Los Vaqueros played there in an "American Bowl'' preseason game in 2001, and before that in 1994.

But preseason games are revenue-makers for the Cowboys (and of course, the NFL). Games on foreign soil are, less directly, profitable for all, too, as the league seems intent on conquering the world ... and all the TV dollars that come with such a conquest.

But in the Cowboys' view, the one thing that is not profitable is the forfeiture of a home game at AT&T Stadium and the profits that roll in because of that.

The logistic issues? Lawrence's view probably reflects a wide-spread one: They are worth it. (I traveled with the team to each of those aforementioned games, Tokyo, Mexico City twice, London twice ... all enriching experiences.) The Cowboys' Spanish-speaking fan base? Lawrence is in touch with that as well; it's the largest in North American sports. But the dollars and sense?

“We’re always interested,’’ Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said. “Our biggest issue is giving up a home game. ... We have never given up a home game and wouldn’t.''

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