- The NFL has moved Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs to Los Angeles due to terrible field conditions in Mexico City.
- The game was initially set to take place at Azteca Stadium, but rain and a heavy schedule of recent events at the venue had left the field looking terrible.
- Some players were reportedly set to sit the game out due to safety concerns, but the league avoided the problem and moved the game.
One of the marquee games of the NFL season has officially been moved.
This week’s “Monday Night Football” match was supposed to pit the Los Angeles Rams against the Kansas City Chiefs at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, part of the NFL’s International Series meant to spread the sport’s appeal abroad.
The NFL announced that the game will be moved to Los Angeles to ensure the safety of the players, some of whom were reportedly threatening to sit the game out due to the horrendous state of the field.
On Monday, reports said the field conditions at Azteca Stadium were terrible due to rain and the heavy use the venue in recent days. According to Peter King, the NFL sent officials to see “if surgery will be needed on the field before the game.”
Even to the untrained eye, it was clear that the field was a long way away from being ready to host an NFL game.
Someone please tell me this photo of Estadio Azteca is either photoshopped to look this bad or was taken 10 years ago after the worst storm in Mexican history! ????#KCvsLAR #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/n2YqduQL2w
— Brad 'Brit Chief' Symcox ???????? ???? (@BritChiefUK) November 12, 2018
Things escalated from there, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting that there were players on both teams were ready to sit the game out due to safety concerns.
“It’s not fair to risk our health,” Schefter reported one prominent player telling him.
While groundskeepers were busy resodding the field on Tuesday, it wasn’t enough.
— Lara Moritz KMBC (@LaraMoritzKMBC) November 13, 2018
Schefter never specified any players he spoke with that were considering sitting the game out, but Rams safety John Johnson was not subtle about his feelings on the matter, tweeting out a story about the field’s condition with a caption reading only, “THAT’S OUT.”
THAT’S OUT????????♂️ https://t.co/3189rnSbhB
— John Johnson III (@iamjohnthethird) November 13, 2018
Eventually, the NFL avoided the problem, and chose to move the game to Los Angeles. According to NFL rules, teams giving up a home game to play internationally keep their stadium open just in case a situation like this pops up, and the Rams were the scheduled home team.
The decision to move the Chiefs-Rams game to LA was based in consultation with the NFLPA and following a meeting and field inspection this afternoon by NFL and club field experts as well as local and independent outside experts.
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) November 13, 2018
While the move out of Mexico City isn’t what the league hoped for, it appears to be the correct move given the circumstances. The Chiefs and the Rams both have Super Bowl potential this season, and risking any of their players by having them run out on a field that didn’t meet standards was a disaster waiting to happen.