Updated at 12:31 a.m. ET Tuesday:
The Oakland Raiders scored two touchdown in the fourth quarter to beat the Houston Texans, 27-20, at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on Monday night.
Both teams grappled with a major challenge: playing at an elevation 2,000 feet higher than the players have ever confronted.
The game is only the second-ever regular-season NFL game in Mexico. The first was in 2005, also at Azteca Stadium — and at the time, set a record for regular-season attendance.
In the decade since, NFL games have been played in Toronto and London, but not at any other international venues.
“This game is the first of a three-year contract for the NFL to play in Mexico City,” The Associated Press notes, “and the league would like it to become an annual event” — just like it is in London.
USA Today notes that the game might be rough on the players. The elevation at Azteca Stadium is some 7,200 feet (compared to the highest NFL stadium, Denver’s Sports Authority Field, which is aptly called the Mile High Stadium — at 5,280 feet). And pollution can make the thin air even harder to deal with. Soccer player Eric Wynalda told the newspaper that Azteca was “the worst place ever to play.”
But at least both teams — equally unfamiliar with the venue — will be on equal footing. And the thin air will make long-distance field goal attempts easier, reports SB Nation.
The game sold out within minutes, and Mexico City residents — famous for their love for fùtbol — have enthusiasm to spare for American football, too. Over at ESPN, Carlos Alvarez Montero documented a few of the game-celebrating getups of Mexican megafans.
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