NFL does the right thing, a lot later than it should have

Getty Images

As the saying goes (I think), wisdom often never arrives at all, it’s better that it show up late.

For the NFL, it wasn’t wisdom so much as it was desperation that forced the league to pull the plug on Monday night’s Chiefs-Rams game Mexico City. The field had disintegrated to somewhere between prison yard and post-apocalyptic, and there was no amount of emergency sodding that was going to make it suitable for NFL football by Monday night.

So here’s the question that may never be answered: Why did it come so close to happening? The concert that tore up the turf occurred on October 11, more than a month before the plug was pulled. What did the league think would occur between then and now to allow the field to meet the NFL’s standards?

Although the NFL avoided the ultimate embarrassment of insisting on playing the game and having players refuse to play at all, the fact that the league had to throw in the towel on the Mexico City game only six days before playing it is embarrassing enough.

Whatever the explanation, it’s hard to understand why efforts weren’t immediately undertaken to assess the situation and to remedy it. It’s impossible to understand why the rip cord wasn’t pulled until six days before the game.

The explanation could be simple. Whoever was in charge of the game (Mark Waller oversees the league’s international operation) possibly knew what was coming and opted to delay the inevitable awkward meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who undoubtedly blew his stack when he’d found out that the league had blown its now-annual Mexican excursion.

Then again, there’s a chance the NFL had an inkling that things could go sideways this year. Why else would the Rams and Chiefs have a bye over Thanksgiving, a weekend during which the playing of three games on Thursday will leave only 10 in the early- and late-afternoon broadcast windows? Maybe the league gave the Rams and Chiefs a post-Mexico bye to account for the possibility that the decision to not play in Mexico would come at a time when it was too late to reschedule it in L.A. for the same day, forcing the game to be played in L.A. the following Sunday or Monday.

22 responses to “NFL does the right thing, a lot later than it should have

  1. “Maybe the league gave the Rams and Chiefs a post-Mexico bye to account for the possibility that the decision to not play in Mexico would come at a time when it was too late to reschedule it in L.A. for the same day, forcing the game to be played in L.A. the following Sunday or Monday.”
    ==============================

    Said someone that has never done emergency planning exercises. Obviously NFL has fixed time schedules for every possibility – that’s why home teams are forced to keep the home stadium available even while playing in Mexico or London.

    Even snowed out NFL games have a whole book on contingency planning.

  2. dawg i do not believe they actually pulled it for field conditions. there is still a lot of inconsistency on playing surfaces in the nfl. the NFC East does not have a single good field between the 4 teams. They pulled it because this is a marquis matchup and will be the biggest game the LA Rams have ever hosted.

  3. Wait, why is the game being moved? According to everyone here, the league only cares about the money and not player safety…

    Please try and explain that.

  4. “Why did it come so close to happening? The concert that tore up the turf occurred on October 11, more than a month before the plug was pulled.”
    =================================

    They’ve had multiple soccer games and a tournament on it since the concert. It’s not like the stadium wasn’t being used and they just left it like that…

  5. “the fact that the league had to throw in the towel on the Mexico City game only six days before playing it is embarrassing enough.”
    ================================

    Why is this an embarrassment to the NFL? The stadium wasn’t up to standards and they exercised their contractual right to move the game. The contingency plans kicked in very effectively. The game is ready to go in LA and millions will watch on tv won’t even notice the difference.

    In fact, I’m very impressed with their planning abilities to move so quickly and efficiently. The logistics would’ve crippled most organizations – apparently not the NFL and it’s partners.

  6. “It’s impossible to understand why the rip cord wasn’t pulled until six days before the game.”
    ==================================

    This logic makes no sense. If the Rams fell behind by a touchdown in the first quarter, are they supposed to just give up and “pull the rip cord” too?? Or be smart and give them time to remedy the situation before bailing out?

    There are reasons why specific deadlines are set. It appears six days for a NFL game is more than enough time to finalize a go/no-go decision.

  7. melikefootball says: “How much money was spent on this fiasco”
    =================================

    Why, are you offering to help the billionaire owners pay for it?

  8. Why is 100% of the blame being pointed at the NFL? Some of the blame has to be on the field crew at that Mexican stadium. For all we know, the NFL may have been relying on that crew to get it together and fix it, but obviously they weren’t able to do it. There may have been promises made which the NFL was relying on.

    We don’t know all the circumstances, but I’m guessing there are some circumstances the NFL can’t totally control when dealing with soccer stadiums in a different country. They moved the game. Problem solved.

  9. The media always has to put their spin on things. Whether it’s right or wrong.

    The NFL made the right decision, and they did it with plenty of time to spare.

  10. Everyone is upset that the NFL wants to play games in foreign countries. If you look at it from a business stand point, if the NFL does not try to grab those foreign markets, somebody else will. Much like Major League Soccer has gained traction here in America. A good business would not allow that opprotunity to pass.

  11. The right thing would be suspending Aaron Donald for one game for his intentionally targeting the other team and looking to start a fight on the field after a game. It’s one thing to get heated during play and get flagged. It’s completely different to do it with intent after.

  12. gtodriver
    Nov 14, 2018, 12:14 PM CST
    Just stop all international games.
    ////////
    The nfl is a $9 billon a year enterprise. Every single one of the owners is a billionaire. What are your credentials?

  13. Will the NFL help all of those fans who paid for tickets to the Mexico game? Lodging that can’t be refunded? Air travel that can’t be refunded? The number of affected individuals is probably small in comparison, but still, that sucks for them!

  14. So, who wants these games played in Mexico? It seems like if it was really a big deal to Mexico, they would have shut down events leading up to the game date to insure a good playing field. Like golf courses do prior to a PGA event.

  15. A game between the two best teams in the League was NEVER going to be played in Mexico, yes?

    Mr. Kroenke has way too much influence to get what he wants…that game was headed back to LA weeks ago.

    If Tyreek had to play in the snow & ice in Buffalo come December, such a game certainly wouldn’t get cancelled because of dangerous field conditions. This was just an excuse to bring this marquee game stateside, where the dazzle and star power of LA/Hollywood can make it a true showcase for the League.

    If it were the lowly 49ers vs the lowly Raiders scheduled to play in Mexico this week, that game would still be played.

  16. I wonder to what extent potential contractual liabilities played a role in the timing. Waiting until there was not reasonable argument that the field would be ready insulates the league from claims better than an early pull, when one could argue there was still time to get the field ready.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!