Patriots won’t have to worry about international games in 2020

The New England Patriots aren’t going to travel outside the U.S. for any games in 2020, as the league announced all games will be domestic this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New England Patriots are going to remain stateside for the entirety of the 2020 season.

In fact, none of the NFL’s 32 teams will be traveling abroad this year, as the league announced on Monday all games will be domestic this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, with the 2020 schedule soon to be announced, at least tentatively, all games are to remain within the United States’ borders. This will ultimately cut out any would-be contests in London, England or Mexico City, Mexico.

From the press release:

The National Football League announced today that it will schedule all 2020 games in the United States in order for the entire season to be played in NFL teams’ stadia under consistent protocols focused on the well-being of players, personnel and fans.

There was a chance the Patriots would have played abroad this season. Last November, the Miami Herald reported the Miami Dolphins were going to play an international game. Whether or not that game would have taken place in London or Mexico City wasn’t known, and neither was the opponent. But given the AFC East rivalry, there was a chance New England could have been selected.

That won’t happen now, according to the report.

The last time New England played an international game was at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca against the Oakland Raiders back in 2017. The Pats won that game 33-8. The last time the Patriots played in London was back in 2012 when they throttled the St. Louis Rams 45-7.

The NFL has long since attempted to spread its influence overseas and internationally, increasing the number of games played both in the United Kingdom and in Mexico. Talk of London getting its own pro team has continued over the years, too.

Yet concerns over both players and fans’ health, at least internationally, has temporarily put a stop to any such games.

It seems a strong possibility, however, the league revisits the idea of opening back up its international series in 2021, depending on what transpires from the COVID-19 pandemic and how its unknown long-reaching effects pan out. To date, professional football is the only remaining major American sport not delayed by the coronavirus, although that could easily change in the coming weeks and months.

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For now, the 2020 schedule appears to be moving forward as planned.

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