TEMPE, Ariz. — What type of atmosphere are the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers preparing for in Monday night’s game in Mexico City?
High altitude. Mexico City is approximately 7,350 feet above sea level.
And plenty of noise at Estadio Azteca, which typically hosts soccer matches.
“They were telling us it’s just making a lot of noise all game. It’s not really like on third down people get loud. It’s kind of like that all game,” Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who’s listed as questionable due to a hamstring injury, said when asked what he’s heard about playing in Mexico City.
Murray has visited Mexico before, but he’s never been to the country’s most populous city. On Monday, he and the Cardinals will face the 49ers at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Follow every game: Live NFL Scores
NFL NEWSLETTER:Sign up now for exclusive content sent to your inbox
“I enjoy prime-time games. I think you should look forward to them. Then it being in Mexico just makes it that much sweeter against a divisional opponent,” Murray said. “I’m a fan of the bright lights, so that’s, that’s my mentality about it.”
Murray was 8 years old in 2005 when the Cardinals beat the 49ers in the NFL’s first regular season game outside of the United States borders — in Mexico City. It had 103,467 fans in attendance.
Monday will be the NFL’s fifth and final contest in the NFL’s 2022 International Series. The NFL had three games in London and a game in Munich, Germany, prior to Monday night’s contest.
“We’re thrilled to return to Mexico for the first time since 2019, and are pulling out all the stops to ensure the fan experience is second to none,” NFL Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Consumer Marketing Marissa Solis said in a statement. “It’s fitting that our final International Series game this season brings us back to the place where it all began … featuring a rematch of the first Mexico Game back in 2005.”
According to the NFL, there are approximately 46 million NFL fans in Mexico, which has the largest NFL fanbase outside of the United States, with American football the country’s second most popular sport, according to a 2019 Forbes report.
“It’s one of the most popular sports in Mexico. The fanbase in Mexico loves the NFL,” 49ers Spanish broadcast analyst Mayra Gomez told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s the Super Bowl outside the United States because you have people attending this game that are Cardinals fans, 49ers fans and American football fans as a whole. There’s gonna be chanting, yelling, screaming and fans excited because they get to have the NFL at home. That’s kind of the feel I get from these international games, especially in Mexico, you’re just gonna get fans from all 32 NFL teams that are excited to be there and just want to watch football.”
If the season ended today, the 49ers (5-4) would be in the playoffs and the Cardinals (4-6) would not — with both teams behind the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks (6-4), who are on a bye in Week 11.
The Cardinals have won 11 of their last 14 matchups against San Francisco. But the 49ers have won two games in a row.
“Excited about this trip,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “Monday Night Football against a division opponent and we can’t ask for anything more really. A lot of these guys have never played in that stadium. I’ve never played in that stadium of a hundred thousand people so definitely good energy out there.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.
Story Credit: usatoday.com