Tom Brady won’t be the only one breaking records Sunday when the NFL plays its first regular-season game ever in Germany. Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin is also going to be breaking a record, which will happen as soon as he sets foot on the field in Munich.
Once the game starts, Irvin will become the first person in NFL history to play a regular-season game in five different countries. Irvin has been in the NFL since 2012. and over the past 10 years, he’s become the league’s unofficial international man of mystery.
Over the course of his career, Irvin has played for five different teams, and as fate would have it, his teams almost always get picked to go abroad.
Irvin’s international adventures started with a trip to Canada, where the Seahawks beat the Bills, 50-17, during his rookie year in 2012. During his first stint with the Seahawks (2012-15), that was the only international trip he took.
After leaving Seattle, Irvin signed with the Raiders and ended up making THREE international trips with them. Not only did he get play in Mexico twice with the Raiders, but he also played one game in London that just happened to be against the Seahawks.
In 2019, Irvin signed with the Panthers and ended up making another trip to London when Carolina played the same Buccaneers team he’ll be facing Sunday. Overall, Irvin has played in Canada, Mexico, England, the United States, and now, Germany.
Here’s at a look at each international game Irvin has played in with his team listed in bold:
2012 (Canada): Seahawks 50-17 over Bills
2016 (Mexico): Raiders 27-20 over Texans
2017 (Mexico): Patriots 33-8 over Raiders
2018 (England): Seahawks 27-3 over Raiders
2019 (England): Panthers 37-26 over Buccaneers
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Although Irvin is breaking a record, he’s not exactly impressed with himself, “It means I’m old. It means I’ve been around the block,” the linebacker said this week, via ESPN.
The most interesting international experience seems to have come in Mexico where Irvin wasn’t even allowed to leave his hotel.
“We had to watch out for the cartel and stuff,” Irvin said. “We couldn’t even leave the hotel in Mexico City. We had to bring our own water and everything.”
After Irvin breaks this record, it will probably be awhile before anyone tops it. For one, the NFL hasn’t played a game in Canada since 2013, so that’s one country that will be difficult for anyone to knock off their list. The only way to beat Irvin will be if the NFL starts playing games in several countries that it isn’t already playing in, and although that will likely eventually happen, it probably won’t be any time in the next few years.
It’s fitting that Irvin will be on the same field as Brady, because the Buccaneers QB will also be breaking a few records. With the game Sunday, Brady will become the first QB ever to start a game in four different countries. Brady can also set the record for most career passing yards outside the United States. Brady already has 952 and needs just 258 to top the record, which is currently held by Blake Bortles.
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