Last night, the NFL went a perfect six-of-six in the key statistical category of games attempted. A week ago, anything other than perfection was taken for granted.
Even if there’s never another congealed paint debacle like the one that happened in connection with the Hall of Fame Non-Game, the decision to scuttle the preseason contest between the Colts and Packers in the name of player safety raises the stakes when it comes to staging regular-season and postseason games.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL Players Association now feels “emboldened” to raise concerns regarding field quality, thanks to the new committee that gives the NFLPA a seat at the table regarding whether fields are safe.
If there’s a question about field conditions and if the NFLPA makes a public stink about it in the hours leading up to kickoff, what will the NFL do? Proceed despite the concerns? Or err on the side of caution and postpone the game?
It’s one thing to ditch the Hall of Fame Game or any other preseason contest. It’s quite another to press pause on a regular-season game, given the logistics involved with getting games in and getting teams ready for their next game. What if the field conditions at Soldier Field are unacceptable on a Sunday and the Bears play on the road on Thursday?
The one good thing (if anything) that came from Sunday night’s debacle is this: Everyone with any responsibility for getting a field ready now understands the importance of ensuring that all i’s are dotted and all t’s are crossed each and every week. Otherwise, the consequences could be a lot more significant than the cancellation of the 65th preseason game.