When the Hall of Fame Game was cancelled on Sunday because of terrible field conditions, everyone wanted to know what happened to the turf. It was a logical question, considering the city of Canton had all year to prepare for this high-profile event.
New details have emerged that explain the “how” and “why” of the outrageous situation, courtesy of NFL Network’s Michael Silver.
“According to several sources familiar with the field preparation, things went awry after the subsequent painting of logos in the middle of the field and in the end zones on Sunday. Improper paint may have been used, and when it did not seem to be drying quickly enough, someone apparently made the dubious decision to heat the field in an effort to dry it — thus melting the rubber pellets inside the FieldTurf and creating a slick, sticky and (in Baker’s words) “congealed” effect.”
For a picture of what the field looked like after this happened, look here.
Trying to make a horrible situation better, Silver reports stadium workers did something that could have potentially led to even worse consequences: “At one point about 2.5 hours before the game, stadium workers applied a substance that appeared to be paint thinner in an effort to remedy the issue.”
Thankfully a Green Bay Packers employee saw the label on the cans of paint thinner (which warned of “severe burns when exposed to skin”), took a picture and shared it with people.
Not long after, Silver reports, both teams retreated to their respective locker rooms, effectively squashing any potential that the game would be played.
A few words spring to mind here: Inept, unprepared, irresponsible and just downright dumb.
Thankfully, the game was not played. That’s the responsible decision to make under these conditions. And thankfully, fans who showed up to the game (waiting for hours in lines outside without knowing why they were not being allowed into the stadium) did receive a full refund for their tickets.
After Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a season-ending injury on the Canton field in 2015 and this year’s unmitigated disaster, the NFL should strongly consider ditching games in Canton from now on, despite ongoing renovations.