LOOK: The Falcons' absurd retractable roof might delay opening of their new stadium

The Falcons aren’t the only team in Atlanta that has trouble performing in the clutch. Apparently, the construction team is also having some issues as it heads into the proverbial fourth quarter of putting the finishing touches on Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

The new stadium, which was originally scheduled to open March 1, has been delayed because no one seems to know when the first-of-its-kind retractable roof will be ready. 

In 2015, when plans for the roof were originally announced, the company behind the stadium’s design -- HOK -- seemed pretty excited about it. 

“Inspired by the oculus in the ancient Rome Pantheon, the stadium’s unique roof opening will provide tremendous flexibility in hosting a wide variety of events in the stadium,” the company said when the design was unveiled. “Eight unique roof petals can open in less than eight minutes, creating a ‘camera lens-like’ effect that exposes the inside of the facility to the open air on game and event days.”

So how would the roof opening look like once the stadium’s actually done? 

Here’s a video illustration:  

As it turns out, putting the roof together has been so complicated that the opening of the stadium has been delayed three times. First, it was supposed to open oMarch 1, which then got pushed back to June 1, before being pushed back again to the current date of July 30. 

The delay has already caused problems for one team in town. The Atlanta United were supposed to be playing at the new stadium, but they’ve had to move several games to Georgia Tech as construction continues on the roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

If the date gets pushed back any farther, there’s a chance the Falcons won’t be able to open the 2017 season in their new $1.5 billion stadium, which was originally supposed to cost $1.2 billion. 

The CEO of the AMB Group (the Falcons’ parent company), Steve Cannon, says the delay hasn’t reached that point yet. 

“No announced event dates have been changed, and work is moving forward at a rapid pace,” Cannon told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Many areas of the building are finished, and others are nearing completion. We are routinely working through the construction timelines with our partners, and with any building this size, scope and complexity, adjustments to construction timelines are expected.”

According to the Journal-Constitution, an update on the roof’s progress is supposed to come at some point in the next 7-10 days. 

Until then, you’ll just have to watch the video of the roof opening and hope there’s an engineer somewhere who can actually make that happen. Anyway, the roof better get done by February 2019, because that’s when the stadium is scheduled to host Super Bowl LIII.  

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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