It looks like the Kansas City Chiefs could be headed to Europe in 2022 as part of the NFL’s international expansion efforts.
On February 9, the league shared a press release announcing a historic moment for the sport — the NFL will be playing in Germany for the first time next season. More specifically, the inaugural game will be held in Munich at Allianz Arena.
Furthermore, there will be one game in Germany each of the next four seasons — two in Munich and two in Frankfurt. In 2022, there will be five international games total, including one in Mexico and three in the United Kingdom.
Rumor has it, the Chiefs are a favorite for the German affair.
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Chiefs Are ‘Logical’ Candidate
According to Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride, one 2022 matchup makes the most sense in kicking off this Munich experiment — Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“The Kansas City Chiefs were one of four teams awarded what the NFL has described as ‘International Marketing Rights’ in Germany,” Sweeney explained. “That means that the Chiefs — along with the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — could begin marketing efforts in the country on January 1, 2022.”
Based on the exclusive marketing agreement, it makes sense that two of these four teams play one another in the opening game. That leaves three current options for the NFL on next year’s schedule, both NFC South face-offs between the Panthers and Bucs and the aforementioned 2020 Super Bowl rematch.
Sweeney continued: “Knowing how the NFL historically operates, it isn’t likely the league would ask either the Buccaneers or Panthers to surrender an NFC South division matchup. In addition, in 2022, the NFC gets an additional home game as part of the new-look 17-game schedule. Using a quick and logical process of elimination, Chiefs at Buccaneers seems to be the most likely candidate.”
This argument makes plenty of sense, plus what better way to kick off the NFL in Germany than Patrick Mahomes and two recent Super Bowl winners? Unfortunately, Tom Brady won’t make the trip as of now but one can never rule out a change of heart before next fall.
Either way, the Chiefs would act as a tremendous headliner, being that they’ve turned into one of the more consistent powerhouses in the league.
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Chiefs Kingdom Expands to Germany
If Sweeney’s reasoning wasn’t enough, Chiefs President Mark Donovan has made strong statements toward KC being willing participants.
“Within the next two years we’d love to be on the ground, playing in Germany,” Donovan voiced during a press conference with the German media on December 15, 2021.
He continued: “The first thing we’re going to try to do is just continue to build the brand and awareness of who the Chiefs are. The NFL is well known, the Chiefs are well known in Germany – we’re actually the fifth-largest brand right now — we’re 20th in Mexico — so that gives you some perspective. So, because of that, we know going in we’re going to be a little bit different in our strategy in each market. We’re going to be a little more unconventional in Mexico; we’ll probably do things a lot differently than the other teams. Where in Germany we’ll be more traditional, we’ll work with local resources to help us with networking and developing relationships over there.”
Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt also previously stated: “We are thrilled with the league’s announcement today that the Chiefs have secured the international marketing rights to both Germany and Mexico. My father, Lamar, founded the Chiefs and the American Football League in 1960 to introduce pro football to new fans in new regions of the country. Over the last three decades, the Chiefs have been at the forefront of the NFL’s global growth initiatives – building on the legacy of our founder to bring America’s game to new fans in new places. We look forward to building relationships with fans in Germany and Mexico and continuing to share the best of Chiefs Kingdom around the world.”
For future reference, German time is seven hours ahead of US Central time. Prepare yourself for some early football Sundays in the coming seasons.