Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press
“My dream is to play a game here in China someday,” Brady said, per ESPN.com. “We had an opportunity, I think, 10 years ago, and my team was going to play here, and unfortunately it didn’t work out. But one day I hope that there are many games here, and over the course of a year, because it’s such a great sport and because I love it so much, to bring that here and to bring the discipline and incredible strategy involved.”
Brady, 39, was visiting China for the first time. He will also be making an appearance in Japan during the trip.
The Patriots nearly played a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks in China in 2007, but that game was later canceled. The NFL has only played regular-season international games in England and Mexico, with the latter getting its first game last season.
New England is 2-0 in London games but has not played overseas since 2012.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reported last year that the NFL was planning a 2018 regular-season game in China with the Los Angeles Rams as a home team. That report was never confirmed by the NFL.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in March 2016 that “multiple teams” had expressed interest in potentially playing in China.
With ratings in the United States stagnating and a solid decade’s worth of effort already placed into growing the game in the United Kingdom, China is a natural next step toward making the NFL a global game. And with Brady committed to playing into his mid-40s, it’s possible his dream will come true at some point.