The Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will play in Mexico City on Monday Night Football, but at least one of the teams are concerned about the upcoming change of setting.
According to the Associated Press, the Texans distributed a memo to players that contained several strongly worded bullet-point warnings that read "DO NOT leave the hotel," “DO NOT order room service," and "DO NOT eat outside of the team meal room."
While Raiders players say no such memo has been distributed, many players told the AP that they are already prepared to avoid situations that could jeopardize their play.
"I always bring my own food anyway," Oakland defensive tackle Dan Williams said. "I’m on a strict diet so I have to watch what I eat. No room service for me. I can’t afford to sneak and cheat."
In May, the NFL distributed a memo to players warning them not to eat meat in Mexico or China. Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown was suspended 10 games after testing positive for clenbuterol — a banned substance that can be used to control asthma or as a weight-loss supplement — but his ban was overturned after Brown was able to prove that the positive test stemmed from eating tainted beef in Mexico.
The first-ever NFL game outside of the United States was a 2005 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, but the league has not returned to Mexico since. While there have been 17 games played in London in the last 10 seasons and six Buffalo Bills games in Toronto, the return to Mexico will be the first game outside of the United States, Canada or United Kingdom since 2005.
Games in China and Germany could also be on the horizon for the NFL, but neither is expected to host a game in 2017 and plans beyond have not yet been finalized. The warning from the Texans reminds one of the several challenges presented by playing away from home, though.