NFL's foreign invasion could include Packers

The Green Bay Packers won't lose a home game in 2007 as part of the NFL's plan to play regular-season games outside the United States. But, one team the Packers play next season, Kansas City, is among the six finalists to be the "home" team in a game to be played in Britain or Germany.

At some point, the Green Bay Packers could play a regular-season home game in some far-flung locale such as Germany or Mexico, but probably not in 2007 when the NFL makes its first regular-season foray overseas.

The NFL announced Buffalo, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco or Seattle will be the "home" team in a regular-season game to be played next season in either Britain or Germany.

The only team among those six that the Packers play next season is Kansas City. The Chiefs will be the home team, so that matchup is a possibility to be shipped overseas. Because those teams played in Super Bowl I, the Packers have a large following and the Chiefs boast a superlative talent in Larry Johnson, there's at least some chance that could be the game the league chooses.

The Chiefs and the Packers played a preseason game in Tokyo in 1998, with Green Bay winning 27-24 on a Ryan Longwell field goal in overtime.

"Would I like to go to Mexico for a regular season game? It was a neat experience — I was on the wrong side of the field that night, so it wasn't a very good evening for the team I was with," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Oct. 25, the day after the NFL announced its plans for a foreign invasion.

"To have 107,000 people in the stadium, it was an exciting crowd," continued McCarthy, who was offensive coordinator when San Francisco faced Arizona in 2005 in Mexico City in the NFL's first regular-season game held outside the United States. "Mexico was playing a soccer game that night, too, and every time they scored, you'd never heard anything like it — they would flash it on the screen, so that was neat.

"That's part of us spreading our sport around the world. I've been to Japan, that was neat. I'm all for it."

The matchup will be announced during Super Bowl week, the league said.

Also, the NFL eliminated Canada and Mexico as a possible site for the game. The league will choose between Germany and Britain next week.

The league will play one game outside the United States in 2007, and up to two per year from 2008 to 2011. If it's a success, the plan will be extended in a way so teams will lose only one home game every 16 years. Division games would be off-limits, unless both teams agreed, and the by week likely would be scheduled the week after the game.


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