GAA President Larry McCarthy says the Association is at 'the start of a dance' with the Pittsburgh Steelers which he hopes will end with the NFL outfit playing competitively at Croke Park.
The Steelers have been granted rights to expand their brand and activities in Ireland as part of the NFL's Global Markets Program.
They previously faced Chicago Bears at Croke Park in a 1997 pre-season game, still the only NFL game to ever be played in Ireland.
Kordell Stewart, who played in that game for The Steelers, was back at Croke Park for the announcement of the five-year rights deal which is expected to see the franchise push hard to penetrate the Irish market.
The expectation is that within the timeframe of that deal, a pre-season or full NFL season fixture will be held at Croke Park.
"This is the start of a dance," said McCarthy of the link up. "Have they said that there's going to be a game here? No. We hope that there will be one, yeah. And it would be here, as opposed to anywhere else. Think about it, just from their perspective, they'll get 82,000 people in here. I'm not exactly sure how many they'd get in the Aviva, 42 or 43,000, whatever the number is.
"It makes a lot more economic sense for them to come here than it does to a smaller stadium, particularly if they can sell it out."
The 1997 game was made possible by the Steelers' late chairman Dan Rooney who had strong ties with Ireland and who served as the US ambassador here between 2009 and 2012.
On the latest development, McCarthy said it is 'essentially a partnership' and explained that The Steelers may use Croke Park for 'any business they're going to do here in Ireland'. This could involve 'watch parties and stuff like that, the low-hanging fruit in terms of what they'll hone in on here'.
McCarthy said that, initially at least, there will be no financial benefit for the GAA.
"I don't think so, the ultimate reward would be in having a game here, not just for us but for the city and the country," he said.
McCarthy said the link up with a US sports club could be useful in the future for any games or exhibitions there. But he poured cold water on the suggestion that an International Rules game could be held there, saying the field would be too small for starters and also revealing that the hybrid game is off the agenda 'for the foreseeable future'.
"At the moment, it is off the table," he said. "They (AFL) haven't been requesting it and I visited with them when I was at the Australasian games when I was in Melbourne in October. We agreed that it's not going to happen in the short-term but it's not obviously dead either."
Meanwhile, McCarthy described fellow Cork man Donal Òg Cusack's recent disparaging comments about the Tailteann Cup as unhelpful.
"They weren't helpful, particularly in terms of...we obviously have a very successful tiered system in hurling, and to make comments like that about the tiered system we have introduced in football was just simply unhelpful."