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‘Only at the very best stadiums’: MCG ‘in talks’ to host NFL regular season game in 2025

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The MCC and Victorian government are in talks with the NFL about playing a 2025 regular season game at the MCG, according to Nine Melbourne’s Tom Morris.

Australia has long been on the radar of the gridiron behemoth, with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles both having the country assigned as an “international marketing area”.

A Rams home game has been floated as the most logical fixture, with 2026 making the most sense because it’s the year they will play nine home games (and thus be most willing to play one overseas). Notably, the Eagles will host the Rams in 2026 due to the NFL scheduling rotation.

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But Morris reported talks are underway which would see the MCG hosting a game next year.

“The MCC in conjunction with the Victorian government is exploring the possibility of bringing a regular season game to the MCG,” he said on Monday night.

“Discussions are in their early stage, but I understand the LA Rams are slated to host given their presence in Australia already, and the direct flights between LA and Melbourne.

“It’s understood the NFL is only keen to play at the very best stadiums – which of course the MCG is.

“The match would be played between October 2025 and February 2026.”

The timing is almost certainly because the AFL has access to the MCG during September, most notably for the Grand Final in the final week of the month.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 25: Wide receiver Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams scores on a 20-yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 20-12. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

It has long been thought any Australia game would take place in week one of the NFL season, allowing the teams to fly across the Pacific early and acclimatise to the time zone. The league is playing its first game in Brazil in week one of the 2024 season for similar reasons.

Doing it during the run of the season would make things more complex unless both teams had their bye week the week before or after the Australia game.

However the NFL plays games in Europe – both in London and across several German cities – during the middle of the season and could view an Australia game similarly.

The NFL played an exhibition game between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers in 1999, while a college football game between the University of Hawaii and University of California was played in 2016, both at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

Former Rams star Todd Gurley talked up the potential of an Australia game last year.

“It’s not that far when you think about it. It’s not that much of a difference from LA to Germany to what it is coming out here. Once you get past 10 hours, it’s all the same,” Gurley said, with flights from LA to Sydney roughly four hours longer than the trip to Frankfurt.

“I think it’d be a great opportunity to play here.

“I don’t know how it’d work, but I think the NFL would have to mandate that the teams come here for six or seven days (for jet lag and to grow the game).

“That’s how it started with the London games, but guys just get there like three days before the game which is tough to get acclimatised to.

“These players are going to London, Germany, Mexico City, and for some of them, this is the first time they’ve left the country.

“I reckon they could come here for the week, play the game and then have a bye week. I can definitely see it happening.”

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