August 14, 1998


American Bowls Highlight Third Preseason Week; 49ers Face Seahawks In Vancouver, Cowboys Play Patriots in Mexico City

This week, the NFL will add a 10th American Bowl city and return to the site of its all-time biggest crowd.

Both scenarios take place in nationally televised American Bowl games as the NFL enters its third week of preseason action.

On Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks -- the NFL's Pacific Northwest representative -- venture further north when they meet the San Francisco 49ers in Vancouver, British Columbia, the 10th city to host the NFL's international American Bowl series since it began in 1986.

Vancouver joins Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, London, Mexico City, Monterrey, Montreal, Tokyo and Toronto as American Bowl cities.

The game will be played at B.C. Place, home of the British Columbia Lions, who are in their 45th season as members of the Canadian Football League.

The NFL has forged an alliance with its CFL brethren to the north, and the leagues now work together in youth football development as well as marketing and sponsorship initiatives.

The Seahawks-49ers Amer-ican Bowl will be televised by CBS-TV (8:00 PM ET), the first NFL game for the network since 1993. In 1962, CBS became the first network to televise all NFL games in a season.

On Sunday afternoon, FOX-TV will make its 1998 debut when the Oakland Raiders travel to Green Bay to play the Packers at 4:00 PM ET.

On Monday night (ABC-TV, 8:00 PM ET) in the third and final American Bowl of '98, the Dallas Cowboys return to Azteca Stadium in Mexico City to play the New England Patriots.

On August 15, 1994, that stadium was the site of the largest crowd in NFL history -- 112,376 fans -- who watched the Cowboys --in Spanish, called "Los Vaqueros" -- play the Houston Oilers. Last year, Azteca hosted the third-largest NFL crowd ever when 104,629 fans attended an American Bowl on August 4 between the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins. The second-largest NFL single-game attendance total was at the 1947 College All-Star Game when 105,840 fans saw the Chicago Bears play the College All-Stars.

"Last year, Denver played in Mexico City and they won a Super Bowl," says Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones. "Without a doubt, it's a sign."

A number of Mexican-born players have played in the NFL, including former Pro Bowl tackle Anthony Muñoz (his maternal grandparents came from Chihuahua, Mexico). Munoz became the first Hispanic-American to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 1.

Football has been played in Mexico since the late 1800s when American oil workers, Christian clubs and other groups from the United States played games against each other. Organized college football began in Mexico in the 1920s. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million Mexicans between the ages of five and 14 play football throughout the country. For teens and adults, there are 24 football associations, consisting of 150,000 players on 4,200 teams.

There are currently 13 veteran Hispanic players and coaches in the NFL. There are also three Hispanic rookie quarterbacks, one of whom, Daniel Gonzalez of the Cowboys, could see action in the Mexico City American Bowl. The other rookie Hispanic quarterbacks are Pete Gonzalez of Pittsburgh and Moses Moreno of Chicago. The veteran NFL Hispanics:

HISPANICS IN THE NFL

Louie Aguiar, P, Kansas City
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Kansas City
Leo Araguz, P, Oakland
Tony Ramirez, T, Detroit
Juan Castillo, Phila., Off. Line Coach
Marco Rivera, G, Green Bay
Stalin Colinet, DE, Minnesota
Pete Rodriguez, Seattle, Ass't. Head Coach-Special Teams
Norberto Davidds-Garrido, T, Carolina
Juan Roque, T, Detroit
Jorge Diaz, G, Tampa Bay
Danny Villa, C, Oakland
David Diaz-Infante, G, Denver

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