The Chiefs and Rams will no longer meet in Mexico City. Due to concerns over the NFL has moved Monday night's game -- arguably the best game of the season -- from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
In a statement, the league announced that the decision was made "in consultation with the NFLPA" after an inspection found that the field "does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday."
"We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game," said NFL Executive Vice President of International Mark Waller. "Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But, 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. 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."
The decision to move the game came after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier on Tuesday that . The photos that have emerged over the past few days make it easy to understand why players didn't want to set foot on the field and why the NFL chose to relocate an important international game between two Super Bowl contenders.
This does not look like an NFL field:
There are still some logistics to sort out. Ticket holders will need to be reimbursed. As the NFL's release noted, the Rams will now need to announce ticket information as soon as possible. The Rams players are currently in Colorado, where they were preparing for Mexico City's altitude. According to ESPN's Lindsey Thiry, the earliest the Rams will return is Saturday.
Even if the logistics are messy, this was a no-brainer decision for the NFL. The league couldn't really afford to put its players at such an obvious risk by playing on an unplayable field. If the NFL hadn't moved the game back to L.A., it would've faced the possibility of seeing players on both sides refuse to partake in the game, which would've turned the game of the year into an embarrassing debacle. This really was the only logical choice the league had.
Now, the game of the year will be played on an NFL-caliber field, the Rams won't lose a home game to the international series, and nobody has to worry about getting hurt on a dangerous surface.
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