The 2016 NFL season was officially supposed to begin on Sunday night in Canton, Ohio, with the annual Hall of Fame Game, featuring the Colts and the Packers. But poor field conditions derailed those plans and the game was canceled not long before the 8 p.m. ET kickoff.
But hours earlier, just after 1 p.m. ET, NFL Football Operations sent out a tweet, which proved to be as ill-timed as it was funny by Saturday evening.
Click the link above and this is the first thing you see: "Few things play a more important role in the quality, integrity and safety of an NFL game than the playing field. All playing surfaces must be in the best possible condition to showcase the players' skills and talents."
Yeah, about that ...
"Due to safety concerns with the condition of the playing surface in Canton, tonight's game between the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers has been cancelled," the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. "We are very disappointed for our fans, but player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight."
David Baker, the executive director of the Hall of Fame, spoke with NFL Network at 7:45 p.m. ET -- 15 minutes before the scheduled kickoff -- to explain where it all went wrong.
"When the field was put down ... it passed the safety test," he said. "Today, this morning, when the cover was taken off, it passed the safety test then [too]. The concerns were really about the painting [of the midfield logo] and the rubberized surface. We talked to the league, which has been great in this situation ... and we're confident -- I'm confident -- that [NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell] would be encouraging us to make the same decision today."
And while no one disputes safety first, Colts owner Jim Irsay made it clear that having a game canceled because of poor field conditions was unacceptable:
"This shouldn't happen. It's not difficult," he told ESPN on Sunday evening. "Obviously, everyone out there says, 'You're a $12-billion league. How can you have a field not ready to go?' Well, the Hall of Fame is sort of separate and gets run a little different from the league. ... We'll have to get it right so it never happens again. ... Yes, we're upset. ... We have to make it right to our fans and also get to the bottom of exactly who got this paint job done and why was there incompetence."
As always, Twitter had a field day with that NFL Operations tweet above, which (to their credit) hasn't been deleted as of this writing.
To recap: For the second year in a row, the field conditions at the Hall of Fame Game were unacceptable. Unfortunately, the Steelers and Vikings played last August and it ended up costing Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham his career.