How many Americans know how popular 'futbol americano' is south of the border?
In the early 1980s, I had the opportunity to work in Mexico City out of college. It was a great experience.
Upon arriving, I was amazed at the popularity of "Los Vaqueros" (Dallas Cowboys) and especially "Las Vaqueritas" as their cheerleaders are known.
I learned from a businessman that "futbol americano" draws huge TV audiences. Alan Wall recently reported that there are 20 million NFL fans in Mexico.
I recall visiting Mexican friends on Sunday afternoon and enjoying a great meal with the Cowboys on TV.
My favorite was the Spanish word for quarterback or "mariscal de camp," It literally means "field marshall".
My guess is that millions of Mexicans will tune in on Sunday to watch the two conference title games. They will cheer for "Los Broncos de Denver", "Los Patriotas de Nueva Inglaterra", "los 49 de San Francisco" and "los seahawks de Seattle:. (I do not think that they translate seahawks.)
My point is that there is great passion for the game, especially among young people. You can see NFL jerseys all over town. Roger Staubach's "12" was the one that I saw all over when I was there. This is just another confirmation of how popular the Cowboys were and are. Today, you see a lot of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning jerseys.
The NFL was very smart in the late 1970s and put the game on local Mexico TV. The Cowboys had a Spanish magazine and hundreds of fans still fly in every weekend that the Cowboys play in Dallas.
This is why I believe that Mexico City will get serious consideration for a future NFL franchise, as I saw at ESPN recently:
"Because if the NFL wants to expand into a large market, protect their players bodies and consider their fans, Mexico City is a better locale than London.
If the NFL wants to use expanding into a new market as their rationale for relocating a team to a foreign country, than Mexico should be their choice.
With the population of Mexico City being nearly 200,000 more than London, both cities should not struggle to support an NFL team.
However, Mexico has nearly 59 million more people than England and would offer a larger market.
Mexico City, has also shown in the past that they are ready to accept an NFL team.
Over the last 35 years, the NFL has played seven games in Mexico City, with 2005′s match up between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers the only regular season match up.
Despite hosting only one regular season game, the fans of Mexico City have shown tremendous support of NFL games.
The 2005 regular season game between the Cardinals and 49ers, saw an attendance of 103,467, which was the NFL record for the largest crowd until 2009. Mexico's larger market would offer the NFL the possibility of more dollars than London.
Moving a team to Mexico City would make more sense from a travel stand point for both the players and the fans as well.
The Northern most NFL team from Mexico City would be the Seattle Seahawks. While a flight from Seattle to London would take nearly 11 hours, a flight from Seattle to Mexico City would only take 5 hours or nearly the same time it takes to get from Seattle to Miami (the furthest Seattle would travel East).
In fact, no NFL team would have to travel more than 5 hours to get to Mexico City. Furthermore, with Mexico City being located in the central time zone, the NFL would not have to worry about jet lag effecting players or games if the league moved a team to Mexico City.
And while any move to a non-American city will provide travel obstacles, Mexico City would create less problems than London for American NFL fans.
Not only is the closest NFL city of Houston only 1,052 miles away, but a team in Mexico City would also give American fans the option to drive to their team's away games in Mexico.
If the NFL chose to realign the teams and include a Mexico City based team in a division that featured Dallas, Houston and New Orleans, the furthest city from Mexico City, or New Orleans, would only be 1,359 miles away by car.
While this would still be a longer trip by car, unlike a team in London, at least a team in Mexico City offers that option to American fans.
The NFL needs to stop looking East and start looking South when it comes to adding an NFL team in a foreign country."
And let's not forget that Mexico has a $1 trillion GDP, or about the size of Texas. Also, the team would have huge TV audiences in a nation of 100 million people and a growing middle class.
So get ready for a NFL team in Mexico. It will happen a lot sooner than you think.
P. S. You can hear my NFL chat with Dave Michaels, DFW sports journalist & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.