WINNIPEG – The preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders on Thursday night was played on an 80-yard field due to concerns about the turf in each end zone.
With holes in the turf — from where goal posts are placed for Canadian Football League play — that could not be properly filled, each end zone was moved 10 yards closer to the middle of the field. Pylons were placed at each end of both 10-yard lines, marking the front of the end zone, and at each end of both normal goal lines (for the back of the end zone).
The league released the following statement on the Raiders’ TV broadcast before the start of the second quarter:
“The field met the mandatory practices for the maintenance of surfaces for NFL games based on an inspection yesterday. Concerns arose today surrounding the area where the (Winnipeg) Blue Bombers’ goal posts were previously located. The 10-yard line will function as the goal line at this game. In lieu of kickoffs, the ball will be placed at the 15-yard line.”
The Packers sat 33 players, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and all of the team’s starters. Tim Boyle started at quarterback for Green Bay. It’s unclear if any starters would have played if the field had been in normal condition.
The Raiders, who were technically the home team and had their logo painted at midfield, also rested most of their starters, with quarterback Mike Glennon starting in place of Derek Carr. Coach Jon Gruden previously told reporters it was unlikely Carr and other starters would play much if at all in the remainder of the preseason.
In 2016, the league was forced to cancel the Hall of Fame Game between the Packers and Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) in Canton, Ohio — the first preseason game of the year — because of issues with the paint at midfield.
“This shouldn’t happen. It’s not difficult,” Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters at the time. “Obviously, everyone out there says, ‘You’re a $12 billion league. How can you have a field not ready to go?’ Well, the Hall of Fame is sort of separate and gets run a little different from the league. … We’ll have to get it right so it never happens again.”
–Field Level Media