The Packers and Raiders played on an 80-yard field in the most important preseason game.
It’s been six years since the NFL last played a game in Canada. Until last night. The Packers and Raiders duked it out in week 3 of the preseason at IG Field, home of the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers on an 80-yard field. Yes, that’s correct.
The field became an issue when a hole in one of the end zones was discovered. The reason for the divot was due to the adjusting of the goalposts from CFL standards to NFL standards. For those who don’t know, the CFL’s goal post is placed at the front of the end zone approximately two yards in. Below is a video from Josh Moser of Fox 11, showing the discussion on what to do.
Instead of playing on a normal-sized field, the game removed kickoffs and end zone goal lines started at the 10-yard line on each side.
The Packers who sat 33 players last night in the most important preseason game, had the intent to play most of their starters, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers. These field issues made the decision for them. According to ProFootballTalk of NBC Sports, Rodgers stated on a television broadcast regarding his scratch that “…it’s more [related to] the field conditions that we had tonight.”
It’s unfortunate that issues like these arise within professional circles, derailing both teams’ game plans in what’s widely considered the most important game of the preseason. Week 3 is largely the dress rehearsal for NFL teams gearing up for the regular season. It’s typically when teams get a long look at their starters and allow many of them to shed remaining rust off before week 1.
The NFL has made a concerted effort to market the NFL in countries other than the United States. Most notably in London and Mexico City, the league’s 2019 International Series will play a total of five regular-season games outside the U.S. Maybe this latest instance over the border allows the NFL to allocate more resources to the NFL field crews to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.