Packers, Raiders forced to play on shortened field with different rules due to unsafe conditions in Canada

The Packers and Raiders trip to the Great White North has turned into a great white disaster for the NFL

Just minutes before game was set to kick off on Thursday, the league announced that the two teams had agreed to make several slight rule changes due to unsafe field conditions at IG Field in Winnipeg. The biggest change is that the size of the field was changed. Instead of playing on a 100-yard field, the Raiders and Packers preseason game will take place on a field that's only 80 yards long. 

Due to the shortened field, one other change had to be made: All kickoffs were eliminated. If either team scores any points, the team that was supposed to receive the ensuing kickoff will simply take over possession on the 15-yard line (which is actually the 5-yard line on the new field). 

Since this all probably sounds mildly confusing, here's a look at the field. As you can see below, the pylon for the goal line is at the 10-yard line while the pylon that marks the back of the end zone is at the old goal line. 

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The NFL had to change a few rules for Thursday's game in Canada NFL GamePass

The reason the changes had to be made is because both teams were unhappy with the field conditions in the south end zone. The problem with the end zone is that stadium officials had to use a patch of temporary turf to cover up the spot where the CFL usually puts its field goal posts. Unlike the NFL, which puts the posts at the back of the end zone, the CFL puts its field goal posts at the goal line, as you can see in the clip below. 

The Packers were so upset with the field conditions that coach Matt LaFleur decided to pull all of his starters from the game. Although there was a belief that players like Aaron Rodgers might see some limited action, those plans were thrown out the window. Instead, LaFleur decided to bench 33 players for the game, including Rodgers. 

The fact that the NFL didn't get this figured out is somewhat of an embarrassment for the league and that's because this marks the second time in nine months that the NFL has had field issues at an international location. Back in November, a Chiefs-Rams game that had been scheduled to be played in Mexico City had to be relocated to Los Angeles due to abysmal field conditions at Estadio Azteca. 

If you're wondering how the small field might impact anyone who gambled on the game, the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas is going to treat it like a normal game. 

The game between the Packers and Raiders marks the first time since 2013 that the NFL has held a game in Canada. For a look at the other Week 3 preseason games that are taking place on Thursday, be sure to click here

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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