Watching the New England Patriots use the rest of the NFL as their personal punching bag has been a favorite pastime of ours over the past 16 years. Generally we’ll watch games from the couch, and only on extremely rare occasions will we make the 45-minute pilgrimage to Foxborough to watch a game in person…which makes it ironic that we were willing to fly to Mexico City to watch them dismantle the Oakland Raiders this past November. The NFL, in their ongoing effort to line the pockets of their evil dictator (Roger Goodell), is now scheduling games in Mexico City in order to monetize the growing fanbase south of the border. Despite the NFL being one of the most corrupt organizations on planet earth, the game itself was a huge success. Throughout the entire weekend, local Mexicans and Americans who flew in for the game were wearing jerseys and flooding into the Zocalo for the Fan Fest activities.
Estadio Azteca was a mob scene before, during, and after the game. The stadium was massive, and the 76,000 reported attendees were a mix of Pats fans, Raiders fans, Americans, and Mexicans. In many ways, it felt a lot like an NFL game in the states, other than the notable elevation difference (Gostowski kicked a 62-yard field goal through the paper-thin air) and the fact that the vendors served cups of ramen noodles. There was also a powerful tribute to the first responders of the devastating Mexico City earthquake earlier this year. In the end, the Pats won 33-8, Brady did Brady things by throwing for three touchdowns and 339 yards, and much fun was had by all.
Leaving the game and reuniting with our driver was a bit of a nightmare. As it turns out, 76,000 people spilling out into the streets of Mexico City is a less than orderly affair. Here’s an example of the chaos…
While we do in fact love the Patriots, the trip was also a chance to explore Mexico City. Mexico City is fairly accessible from the US, with <4-hour direct flights from Boston and New York, but seemingly it is not on many people’s radar as a tourist destination. The city itself was massive and crowded as expected, but the streets were overflowing with culture and history and the food was phenomenal and extremely inexpensive. It should come as no surprise that the best Mexican food in the world is, in fact, in Mexico (if you don’t believe us, ask Vicente Fox). We stayed in an Airbnb in La Condesa, one of the more upscale neighborhoods in the city ad it was still very affordable. Given that we were only there for the weekend, we’re far from experts on the city, but it’s absolutely worth a visit. The Diego Rivera murals at the Palacio Nacional were a particularly mind-blowing attraction.