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Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

Due to poor field conditions at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the NFL has moved next week's Monday Night Football game between the Chiefs and Rams to Los Angeles.

"The decision is based on the determination -- 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 -- that the playing field at Estadio Azteca does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday," the league wrote in a statement.

The Rams had actually flown to Colorado Springs on Monday to prepare for Mexico City's altitude. It's not clear when they will return to L.A.

Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times reports that the Rams are working to provide tickets to first responders and those affected by the wildfires in California.

Comments

12 comments, Last at 15 Nov 2018, 8:40pm

1 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by comfect // Nov 13, 2018 - 7:07pm

What are the odds its unplayable in LA because of the fires?

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2 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by Mountain Time ---- formerly Ninjalectual // Nov 13, 2018 - 7:52pm

Unplayable due to traffic

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6 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by Richie // Nov 14, 2018 - 2:39pm

They played at home last week and the fire situation was worse then. Unless new fires spring up.

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3 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by BJR // Nov 14, 2018 - 9:01am

What a disaster for everybody involved, especially given the profile of the fixture. Cannot bode well for the stadium's prospects of hosting future games either.

I do applaud the NFL for acting quickly and decisively, however.

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4 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by PatsFan // Nov 14, 2018 - 10:15am

Don't be so quick to give the NFL credit. According to some stuff I read, various players for both teams were (rightfully) going to refuse to play in the game because of how sucky the field was. So it sounds like the NFL was forced into making the change

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9 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by fyo // Nov 15, 2018 - 10:52am

Stadium management really messed up. It's worth noting that Estadio Azteca isn't owned by a club (or league or the city), as one might expect, but by a media group (Televisia).

What they did was pretty astounding (click bait intro). First they decided to earn some more money by getting Cruz Azul (Mexican LIGA MX soccer club) to play their home games there, in addition to league competitors America, that already call the stadium home. That just basically doubled the base load on the field.

America's women's soccer team also plays there, adding some more games.

Not content with the money that would bring in, Televisa decided that it would be great to host a bunch of concerts, including two major ones in the month leading up to the NFL game (a Shakira concert about a month ago and another last week). And concerts are REALLY rough on stadiums.

All told, the plan was to have about 3 events EVERY WEEK between the start of the soccer season and Christmas.

So, in order to have a chance in hell of having the turf survive, with basically no time to "regrow" or perform repairs, Televisa decided to install a hybrid turf.

That was probably a smart move.

What wasn't a smart move was getting it done so late that the sod didn't have time to settle and take root before first use; the hybrid turf was only completely installed 3 days before the first soccer match on it.

The CONSTANT use made it impossible to repair the field or let it regrow naturally, not helped by some recent heavy rain.

In an act of panic, Televisa decided to returf the whole field last a couple days ago (I believe work started Tuesday). That prompted NFL players to express concern that the field wouldn't have time enough to settle and for the roots to take hold (sound familiar?). And it wouldn't have. It would have been exactly the same shitty situation that Televisa had at the start of the season.

Hopefully, management takes note and removes all activity on the field until America's next home game (10 days from now).

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5 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by Will Allen // Nov 14, 2018 - 1:13pm

Kroenke oughta' have enough P.R. acumen to have all revenues devoted to disaster relief, or even match all revenues.

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7 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by Richie // Nov 14, 2018 - 2:40pm

Is the field worse than the field in Miami for the Jets-Dolphins game a couple weeks ago?

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8 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by fyo // Nov 15, 2018 - 9:30am

That field was fine. It *looked* like crap, sure, but I think I saw two players slip all game. A lot of new turf was put in and the groundskeepers did a heck of job. Players from both teams said the turf wasn't an issue at all. Not great, but not an issue.

Miami had a lot of problems with their turf since the stadium renovation, but before last season they fired the company responsible for the field and switched everything. For some reason, they had been using crowngrass (paspalum) and switched to bermudagrass instead. Crowngrass is not very common on high-end sports fields (except for golf) and just isn't suited for use on a field where maintenance / watering etc is not an issue. The strain of crowngrass used was supposed to be great for a field that didn't get a lot of sun (due to the partial roof), but it was just horrible in so many other ways (but did look great), not the least of which was its tendency to get "divots" from even light usage. The new field provider also changed the composition of the substrate to allow better drainage for those South Florida deluges.

Basically, if you have the "wrong" dirt and the "wrong" grass, there is just not much you can do to fix the field (quickly).

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10 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by LyleNM // Nov 15, 2018 - 2:29pm

How does Azteca compare to the awful Fedex Field conditions of 6 years ago (when RG3 and others suffered major injuries in the playoffs)?

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12 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by fyo // Nov 15, 2018 - 8:40pm

I have no idea. Just looking at pictures isn't going to give a very good idea of what the field would be like to play on and I haven't exactly traipsed around on Estadio Azteca.

I have walked on a top-tier soccer pitch that used hybrid grass (Santiago Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid) after a concert and it wasn't pretty. The pitch was still completely level and firm, but a good portion of the grass had yellowed and some patches had completely died off, particularly in certain sections (where I imagine the stage and other more permanent fixtures where placed). Those areas would naturally be much more susceptible to damage, particularly if combined with copious amounts of rain.

If you look at the images of Estadio Azteca, it looks like the turf saw a lot of traffic. That's NOT how top-tier stadiums normally do it. Aforementioned Bernabeu had their entire pitch covered with interlocking plastic slabs to protect the turf. This prevents the type of wear seen in the pictures of Estadio Azteca after both recent concerts, but covering the pitch in plastic for up to 48 hours in summer heat isn't exactly great for the grass. If you've ever had a tent with flooring (even without) or a plastic pool up on your lawn for even a day or two, you'll be familiar with how much damage these things can cause.

What a good stadium does to protect the turf is simple: Not use it as much. Take a stadium like Wembley where the NFL games were held in London. It also plays host to concerts, national soccer team matches, 3 NFL games, boxing events, lower league playoff games, women's cup final, men's cup final, and other events. In the time period where Estadio Azteca had 50 event scheduled, Wembley has 38, and that's only due to the fact that they are temporary home to another Premier League team (Tottenham) whose stadium construction has been delayed.

Estadio Azteca planned on hosting an insane amount of events, including numerous concerts. Wembley usually doesn't host concerts during the season (there are none planned until next summer, as far as I can tell).

Not helping at all is the fact that Azteca's new turf hadn't had the necessary time to establish roots and settle before the soccer season started.

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11 Re: Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Game Moved to Los Angeles

by Richie // Nov 15, 2018 - 3:35pm

This guy gardens!

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