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In Mexico, The Body Count Continues to Mount










By Allan Wall
February 15, 2011

Super Bowl XLV, played in Dallas on February 6th, 2011, is now history. This year’s Super Bowl saw the matchup of two of the NFL’s most classic teams- the Green Bay Packers vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coincidentally, both teams are named after industries (meat packing and steel processing, respectively) in their home towns.

It was a competitive game, either team could have won it, but the Packers wound up winning the game 31 to 25. Congratulations Packers.

More than a sports event, the Super Bowl is a major entertainment production. The halftime show features major pop artists in expensive mini-concerts with corporate sponsors. This year performers were the Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Slash; former acts have included The Who, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, U2, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson.

Super Bowl commercials are the most expensive and most-watched in American television, running at about $3 million per 30 seconds.

For the viewers at home, Super Bowl is a major social event. More food is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday than on other day except for Thanksgiving.

Super Bowl XLV was the most-watched program in U.S. television history, with 111 million viewers in the country tuning in.

The Super Bowl is not only watched in the United States – it has viewers in other countries, including in Mexico.

It may surprise some to know that, south of the border, there are many Mexican fans of football, or as they refer to it, fútbol Americano - “American football.” (The sport known as soccer in the U.S. is called fútbol.)

The sport of fútbol americano has been played in Mexican schools and universities since the 1920s. When I resided in Mexico I attended some games, and it’s the same sport as played north of the border!


There is a Mexican college league known as ONEFA (Organización Nacional Estudiantil de Fútbol Americano) which holds national championships. In 2010 the winners were the Potros Salvajes (Savage Colts) of the UAEM (Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México) of Toluca.

Mexican television regularly broadcasts NFL games, and has some good commentators.

It’s been estimated that there are 20 million or so NFL fans in Mexico, giving it the league’s biggest fan base outside the U.S.A.

There have even been some NFL games played in Mexico. In fact, the first NFL regular season game played outside the U.S. was between the Cardinals and the 49ers, in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, in 2005. (The Cardinals won). That game was attended by over 100,000. So your can see there’s a market for the NFL in Mexico.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (Los Acereros de Pittsburgh) are the most popular NFL team in Mexico. It’s been reported that in Mexico City alone there are 10,000 fans of the team. Monterrey is another big Steelers town – interestingly, the northern Mexico City is the center of the Mexican steel industry. There are Steelers fan clubs in all major Mexican cities. Mexican Steelers fan include among their number First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon, who was able to Heinz Field while in Pittsburgh for the 2009 G-20 Summit.

The popularity of the Steelers in Mexico is derived from their great success in the 1970s, when the team made the playoffs eight times and won the Super Bowl four times. During the same decade, Mexico’s Televisa network frequently aired their games.

As Antonio Valdez, Televisa broadcaster, explains, “Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris and Lynn Swann and all those players were very popular [with] the young boys, young guys who started to see the NFL. When you win you cause impact, with the children you cause impact.”

Not every NFL fan in Mexico is a Steelers fan, the Dallas Cowboys are also very popular. The Green Bay Packers (Los Empacadores de Green Bay) are among the Top Ten most popular teams in the country.

So this year’s Súper Tazón featured the Acereros vs. the Empacadores.

Mexican NFL fans can watch the games in their homes, of course, but some fans like to watch games in restaurants or bars. However, a specifically Mexican custom is to watch a football game in a movie theater. Yes, that’s right, there are movie theaters in Mexico City that show NFL games.

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On Super Bowl Sunday, Universal ran an article pointing out various restaurants and movie theaters where you could watch the Super Bowl.

Well, when it was all said and done, Super Bowl viewers in any country saw that the Empacadores defeated the Acereros this time around.

Next year’s Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in Indianapolis, so die-hard fans of any team can hope for the best in the next season.

� 2011 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved

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Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.












The sport of fútbol americano has been played in Mexican schools and universities since the 1920s. When I resided in Mexico I attended some games, and it’s the same sport as played north of the border!