The Green Bay Packers are one of, if not the most storied franchises in the history of the NFL. They were the first-ever Super Bowl champions, are littered with Hall of Fame talent throughout their existence, and are a pillar to the league's unprecedented success. With that in mind, you'd think that they've reached every milestone imaginable, right? Well, Sunday's Week 5 matchup against the New York Giants will usher in a first for the 103-year-old franchise.
For the first time, they will be playing a regular-season game outside of the United States when they kick off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England. Before this, Green Bay had been the only NFL team to not play in an international game.
The NFL has been playing games outside of the U.S. for decades and regularly played games in London since 2007 in an attempt to broaden its overall reach, so why wouldn't they want to take one of their best assets and put it on the world stage? They probably did, but it's the Packers who have routinely refused to play outside of the country.
The reason for that is that they did not want to lose a home game off of its schedule. Green Bay, considered to be the smallest market in the NFL, would see a drastic economic impact if they decided to take a regular-season home game away from Lambeau Field. As the Green Bay Press-Gazette notes, the impact of a regular season game in Green Bay is estimated at $15 million. For a team that does not have a traditional owner, who may be more apt to grow his franchise's international brand, that cost has been simply too much for the Packers to leave town for a weekend.
Meanwhile, they could technically have been considered an option for a team hosting an international game in the past, but those clubs have also been against that since the lure of the Packers is a major draw -- and effectively a guaranteed sellout -- at their home stadiums.
So, what changed? Along with the NFL moving to a 17-game schedule, the owners also agreed that every team will play an international game at least once during an eight-year period beginning in 2022. Up to four teams from the conference whose teams were eligible for a ninth regular season home game would instead be designated to play a neutral-site game internationally. Thatthis season.
This isn't the first time the Packers have been outside of the country, but it will be their first regular season game played internationally. In the past, they've played three international preseason games, with the most recent coming in 2019 against the Raiders in Winnipeg.