The recent rumors surrounding the Superbowl finalist Pittsburgh Steelers potentially playing a regular season game in Ireland next season have been quashed by Croke Park Director Peter McKenna.
McKenna did however reveal that he had looked into the idea of hosting an NFL matchup at the home of the GAA. Government assistance will be required should this happen and he has already discussed the idea with the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, "We felt there was an opportunity to make an overture to the NFL to stage one of their international fixtures at Croke Park."
"But to do that we need the proper support so we have met with Con Haugh (the Department’s general secretary) and the Minister (Mary Hanafin).
"It requires a national push...We’d be competing with countries like Canada, Mexico and Germany. It just can’t happen this year. We haven’t even approached the NFL for a meeting to see if we could make a bid if a bid is even available to make."
Two American football games have previously been held in Croke Park. The first of which was a college game between Notre Dame and the US Navy academy while the other was a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers. This however would be the first ever professional game of meaning should it go ahead.
Notre Dame and Navy are already penciled in to carry out the 2012 version of their fixture in Croke Park and while the college game attracts a huge following, it would pale in comparison to the prospect of hosting an NFL game.
The US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, is the former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL franchise and has already brought across the Pittsburgh college Basketball team. Rooney has previously spoken out in favor of bringing the Black and Gold to Ireland but has as of yet not discussed the specifics of the process.
Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is already on board "I think it would be fun to go play in Ireland where Ambassador Rooney is. That would be kind of fun."
Kind of fun?
Sounds like a serious understatement to me!