The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams’ Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to LA due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium.
The league announced the extraordinary decision on Tuesday, six days before one of the most anticipated regular-season games of the year. In a news release, the league said it determined that the recently re-sodded field “does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency, and will not meet those standards by next Monday.”
The Rams (9-1) will host the Chiefs (9-1) at the Coliseum instead, in a game that could be a rehearsal for the Super Bowl in 2019. The much-anticipated game is just the fifth meeting since 1970 between teams with one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later.
Giants beat 49ers in game played in unhealthy conditions due to wildfires Read more The decision creates a huge range of logistical concerns for the teams, and for fans either based in or traveling to Mexico, and will disappoint thousands eager to see a marquee matchup in North America’s most populous city. But the league consulted with the players’ association and local officials before deciding it couldn’t risk the players’ health on a damaged field.
“The combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game,” said Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of international.
“As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision, and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”
Azteca officials changed the playing surface from natural grass to a hybrid in May, but the turf hasn’t been ideal for several months. Concern about the field grew in recent days when aerial photos of the stadium showed serious damage to the grass, particularly on the end of the stadium recently used for a major concert.