TAMPA ― The Bucs will travel to Munich, Germany, during the 2022 season to play in the first NFL regular-season game in that country, the league announced Monday.
The opponent, date and time have yet to be determined, but it’s expected that Tampa Bay will serve as the home team for the game at Bayern Munich Stadium, meaning it will lose one of its nine regular-season home games originally slated for Raymond James Stadium.
The Bucs’ home opponents for 2022 include the Falcons, Ravens, Panthers, Bengals, Packers, Chiefs, Rams, Saints and Seahawks.
“We look forward to participating in the first regular-season NFL game in Munich, Germany, later this fall as part of the International Series,” Bucs co-owner/chairman Joel Glazer, who serves as the chairman of the league’s international committee, said in a statement. “This historic game will play a crucial role in the NFL’s efforts to grow its international footprint while allowing us to directly engage NFL fans in Germany.”
As part of the league’s expansion of the regular season to 17 games, it was determined that beginning with the 2022 season up to four teams from the conference whose teams were eligible for a ninth regular-season home game would be designated to play a neutral-site international game each year. Each of the league’s 32 teams will be designated for one international matchup every eight years.
The NFL announced in December that the Bucs were among 18 teams that were granted access to new International Home Marketing Areas. They were designated the IHMA of Germany (along with the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots), meaning they will have opportunities for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization that will allow them to build their brand in the country.
“Every time I’ve been to Europe I’ve met so many German fans,” coach Bruce Arians said in December. “It’s just an amazing group of fans that get together online, and they know how to party. I think American football is the greatest sport in the world and (it’s great) for us to be able to put it on for every place and continue to grow the game.”
It will mark the fourth time the Bucs have played a regular-season game in Europe, with the three previous meetings in London. The first two games occurred during lean years under Raheem Morris in 2009 and ’11.
How long ago was that? Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich began the 2009 season as the Bucs’ starting quarterback but was injured by the time the team arrived in England to face the Patriots. Josh Freeman made his NFL debut in a mop-up role at Wembley Stadium in a 35-7 loss.
In 2019, the Bucs lost to the Carolina Panthers 37-26 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a game in which Jameis Winston threw five interceptions, including on the game’s first play.
The four appearances (including 2022) by the Bucs in the International Series trail only the Jaguars (nine, including 2022), Dolphins (5) and Raiders (5).
The announcement of the International Series games by the NFL arrived Monday despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week and increasing readiness for war among the United States’ allies in Europe.
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