MEXICO CITY – The Raiders have played in Mexico City the last two years, and have given up a home game to do it.
You already know head coach Jack Del Rio’s stance on the matter. He doesn’t like it. Not one bit.
The NFL announced Sunday morning that Mexico City will host games annually through 2021. The Raiders will be on the short list to return during that span.
“They’ve done a nice job for us over the last two years,” Del Rio said. “If it was a road game, I’d enjoy it. If they stop making (international contests) our home games, we’ll be fine.”
"They’ve done a nice job for us the last couple of years. If this was a road game I’d enjoy it.”— Raiders on NBCS (@NBCSRaiders) November 20, 2017
Del Rio on playing in Mexico City ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/JsbZU4xGKq
Hate to be the bearer of bad news Jack, but the Raiders will keep giving home games away. That’s expected each year until the Raiders formally move to Las Vegas.
The Raiders might not come back to Mexico for a third straight season, but could host a game in London next year. The NFL sent four games to the United Kingdom this year.
The Raiders have a massive fan base in England and Mexico, which makes them an attractive option to play abroad.
It might make financial sense for the team and the league to expand its base beyond borders, but the football people don’t find it fun.
The Raiders had more fans watching Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, but it’s no substitute for playing in Oakland.
“I think the crowd down here is pretty excited for the Raiders, so we appreciate that,” Del Rio said. “When you travel four-and-a-half hours, you’re not at home. We appreciate the hospitality and the good people who came out and supported us, but it’s hard to call it a home game.”
This one, especially. The Raiders had overwhelming support last year’s game against Houston, but Patriots fans were a large and vocal minority. They had plenty to cheer, as the Patriots waxed the Silver and Black over four quarters.
It’s hard to say the Raiders had a home crowd this time around, with plenty of noise when they were on offense.
“You know what, traveling down here, I think it was like four hours or something like that, and getting here, I think that hospitality was great, but it really wasn't, it wasn't the Coliseum,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It didn’t have that feel. Now, we loved playing here, we loved coming down here and playing, but it felt more neutral.”