Equally enthusiastic for all things Ireland and all things Pittsburgh, US Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney is looking to have some American NFL football games played back home on the auld sod.
TribLive reports that Ambassador Rooney, a Pittsburgh native who serves as chairman emeritus for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has already discussed the possibility of bringing an NFL team over for a game with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Sometime soon it would be good, and I think the commissioner would be interested in working something out,” Rooney said during an interview with BBC Northern Ireland. “I’d like to see the Steelers involved, and if it could be worked out by the league, we would enjoy doing it.”
Rooney envisions the NFL matchup playing at Dublin’s Croke Park, which has a seating capacity of 82,500. Croke Park has already been witness to a previous NFL game - 1997’s preseason showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears
“(The International Series) has proven very, very successful. In fact, that game sells out almost as soon as they put the tickets up,” said Rooney. The Ambassador compared an NFL game in Dublin to that of the NFL matches played in London’s Wembley Stadium, tickets for which usually sell out.
“The interest (in Dublin) in sports is, as it is in London, quite strong,” he added.
Where Rooney is optimistic to bring NFL teams over to the Emerald Isle, the NFL chief marketing commissioner Mark Waller, is skeptical and hesitant.
“When we bring a team over, we are bringing over at least 150 personnel. That’s for each team,” Waller said to the BBC.
“That’s a massive infrastructural move, and — I want to stress this — with these overseas games, it also is in the middle of our season. So the logistics and planning side are key to the decision.”