July 15, 2005

Mexico to stage 1st regular season game outside US

By Chris Aspin

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Organizers are hoping to attract a
record 105,000 crowd to Mexico's Azteca stadium when the San
Francisco 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals in October, the
first regular season NFL game outside the United States.

San Francisco safety Tony Parrish said his team were pumped
up about the contest on Sunday October 2.

"This game right here is going to be all business," Parrish
told a news conference on Friday. "I've never played in front
of that many people and I'm excited about that."

The Azteca stadium, which normally hosts soccer matches and
rock concerts, holds the record for an NFL game after 112,376
people watched the Dallas Cowboys lose 6-0 to the Houston
Oilers in a pre-season American Bowl game in 1994.

This time the capacity is limited to 105,000 as giant
screens will be set up for the crowd to watch replays.

Cardinals guard Rolando Cantu will be returning to his home

Cantu, a second-choice player for Arizona, is the only
Mexican-born player in the NFL.

"It is an honor to be in this position and to be part of
this magnificent event," said Cantu.

NFL executive vice president Roger Goodell said Mexico had
been chosen for the game because of its fan base, with huge
support for teams like the 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys and the
Miami Dolphins.

But Europe, Asia and Canada may also host regular season
games in the future, Goodell said.

"We would look to play an international game, maybe on an
annual basis, and would look to rotate that around the areas I
mentioned," he said.