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Bills face shot at game in Europe

The Buffalo Bills did not get any national, prime-time exposure in 2006 but they have an outside chance to get some international exposure in 2007.

The Bills are one of six teams being considered as potential home teams for a regular-season game next season in either Great Britain or Germany.

The other teams that could "host" the game are San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Kansas City and New Orleans.

The home team would be giving up a game in its own stadium, meaning it would play only seven regular-season home games.

The Bills released a statement Monday saying they would approve if the league asked them to move a home game.

"While the NFL makes the decisions regarding the playing schedule, the Bills certainly are supportive of the international regular-season game initiative," the statement read. "If our team is selected to participate, it would be great recognition for our city in an international forum, not to mention the tremendous experience it would serve for our players, coaches and staff."

The site of the game will be announced on Monday. The two teams competing will be announced during Super Bowl week. The "visiting" team for the game will not necessarily be one of the six teams that could host the game.

Every team in the league ultimately will get the chance to go abroad under a plan approved by league owners in October. The owners agreed to take up to two regular-season games a year outside the United States, with the possible sites limited at first to Mexico, Canada, England and Germany. There will be one this coming season, and Mexico and Canada were eliminated from consideration with Monday's announcement.

New NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has pushed the idea, saying the benefits of reaching an international audience outweighed the negatives of some teams having to give up home games.

The NFL intends to plan the games so that teams will rotate over a 16-year period, with each team playing outside the country twice over that span, once as a visitor, the other as a home team. That means a team would lose one home game during that span.

In 2005, the NFL staged its first regular-season game outside the United States when Arizona hosted San Francisco in Mexico City. A crowd of 103,467 packed Azteca Stadium, the largest crowd for a regular-season game in NFL history.

When the plan was OK'd in October, Mark Waller, senior vice president of NFL International, said the international popularity of certain teams would not necessarily determine who goes abroad. He said people in foreign markets were more concerned with simply hosting a regular-season game, rather than exhibitions in which the best players tend to see little action.

NFL Europe currently consists of six teams, all in Germany.


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