It had seemed like a mere formality to happen, but a recent report points to the Detroit Lions not playing overseas during the 2023 season.
The Detroit Lions have not played an international game in a long time, given that one scheduled for the 2020 season did not happen. It seems they are due, especially given the NFL’s addition of a game in Germany.
All the way up to team president Rod Wood, the trend has been building regarding the Lions playing the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Germany during the 2023 season. The Chiefs were coincidentally the Lions’ opponent for their last international game, in 2015 (a 45-10 Chiefs win).
On Monday, via the “REKAP Rush Hour”, David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 in Chicago passed along some intel regarding the international game schedule for 2023.
"I have learned the Bears and Chiefs are expected to play in Germany next season. So, the Bears and Justin Fields get Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champions. Again, they’re expected to play next fall in Germany.”"
Detroit Lions now set to possibly give up home game for international game in 2024
With the advent of the 17-game regular season schedule, each conference alternates seasons having a ninth home game. 2024 will be the NFC’s turn, so the Lions could surrender a home game to be the home team for an overseas game.
Wood lightly lamented the idea of having to give up a home game in an even-numbered year to host an international game.
"Selfishly, I’d rather not give up a home game while we’re kind of on this upward trajectory,” “Every 10 years you have to give up one of your nine, so I’m hoping that doesn’t happen in (2024). I would rather have it be ’26 or later. If playing internationally this year buys us a year off that, that’d be OK.”"
It’s not a guarantee it’ll happen, in terms of surrendering a home game in 2024 to be the “home team” for an international game. But the Lions are certainly due (overdue?) to play overseas. The odds it happens in 2024 just went way up, if Kaplan’s report proves true about the Bears playing the Chiefs in Germany when the schedule is released next month.