As Patriots Prep For Mexico City, A Look Back At Their International History


Nov 14, 2017

The New England Patriots will take the field outside the United States for the seventh time in franchise history Sunday afternoon when they square off against the Oakland Raiders at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium.

It’s the second time the Patriots have played at the famed home of Mexican soccer and the third time they’ve ventured outside the U.S. during the regular season, having traveled to London in 2009 and 2012.

Here’s a look back at New England’s previous international games (*indicates preseason game):

Aug. 25, 1969*
Location: Jarry Park, Montreal
Final score: Lions 22, Patriots 9

The Patriots’ first international foray came during their final year in the American Football League. They closed out the 1969 preseason with a loss to Detroit at the original home of the Montreal Expos, which since has been converted into a tennis stadium.

New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions

Photo via

Aug. 9, 1990*
Location: Olympic Stadium, Montreal
Final score: Steelers 30, Patriots 14

Before the NFL’s International Series debuted in 2007, there was the American Bowl series, which ran from 1986 to 2005 and featured exhibition games in Canada, England, Japan, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Mexico and Australia. The Pats headed back to Montreal for this one, with Steve Grogan and Tommy Hodson splitting time at quarterback in a preseason loss to Pittsburgh.

New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Photo via

Aug. 14, 1993*
Location: SkyDome, Toronto
Final score: Browns 12, Patriots 9

For some strange reason, you can find the entire first half of this game on YouTube. Not that anyone would want to watch it. According to The Globe and Mail, its headline the day after this field goal-fest was “Visiting NFL Teams Bore Football Crowd.”

Aug. 17, 1998*
Location: Azteca Stadium, Mexico City
Final score: Patriots 21, Cowboys 3

The NFL held six preseason games in Mexico between 1994 and 2001, the fourth of which pitted Drew Bledsoe’s Patriots against Troy Aikman’s Cowboys. Sedrick Shaw rushed for two touchdowns, and Ty Law had a pick-six as New England prevailed in front the second-largest crowd in NFL history (106,424).

** The Patriots were scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in Beijing during the 2007 preseason — an event dubbed the China Bowl — but that game ultimately was canceled. It would have been the first NFL held played in China. 

Oct. 28, 2009
Location: Wembley Stadium, London
Final score: Patriots 35, Buccaneers 7

The Patriots didn’t play their first regular-season game on foreign soil until 2009. They bulldozed the Bucs in that contest, with Tom Brady throwing three touchdown passes and Brandon Meriweather pulling down two interceptions, including a pick-six on the game’s opening drive.

Oct. 28, 2012
Location: Wembley Stadium, London
Final score: Patriots 45, Rams 7

The Patriots’ trend of winning big across the pond continued in 2012. Sam Bradford got St. Louis on the board first with an early touchdown pass, but New England found the end zone on each of its first five possessions to put the game out of reach by halftime. Tight end Rob Gronkowski was particularly effective, catching eight passes for 146 yards and two scores and busting out two of the best touchdown celebrations of his career.

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