The New England Patriots’ German debut won’t come until 2023 at the earliest.
The NFL announced Monday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the league’s first-ever regular-season game in Germany during the 2022 season.
Their opponent for that game — which will be played at the home stadium of soccer juggernaut Bayern Munich — has yet to be revealed, but the Patriots are not on the Bucs’ 2022 schedule, ruling them out.
The Patriots and Buccaneers were two of the four NFL franchises awarded Germany as their International Home Marketing Area, along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. With the league planning an additional game in Munich and two in Frankfurt over the next four seasons, the odds of New England participating in at least one of them are high.
“That’s one of the countries that the NFL is trying to get to,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in December. “I believe we have the largest fanbase there.”
The Patriots employ a German fullback in Jakob Johnson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Retired longtime Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer also hails from Germany.
Though the Patriots will not play in Johnson and Vollmer’s homeland in 2022, they still could be assigned another international game. They’re scheduled to play road matchups against the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals this coming season, and those teams will host games in London and Mexico, respectively, with opponents to be announced.
The Patriots’ last game outside of the United States was a 2017 win over the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City. They have not played in London since 2012, when they routed the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium.
The New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars also will host games in London in 2022. The full NFL schedule will be unveiled this spring.