Typically, a preseason game doesn’t lead sports talk especially when it involves the Oakland Raiders and the Green Bay Packers playing in a game in Winnipeg, Manitoba but here we are. In the NFL’s continued (failed) effort at making football a global game, the league brought a preseason game north of the border to a Canadian football stadium. One problem the league failed to consider is the differences between their game and the CFL which has the Winnipeg Blue Bombers playing where Oakland and Green Bay took the field.
The glaring difference is an NFL field is 100 yards long and the CFL is 110. One other small difference is the placement of the field goal posts. In the NFL, the uprights are placed in the back of the endzone while the post is on the goal line in Canada. When converting the field from Canadian to American, the league had to obviously put their field goal post in the back of the endzone meaning the CFL post was pulled out of the ground making a hole that had to be filled with sod but still relatively unsafe. Both teams were made aware of the problem and played with an 80-yard field.
There were no kickoffs or punts and the “endzone” was each 10-yard line. Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden and Packers Head Coach Matt LeFleur made the decision to play but the Packers had 0 regular starters on the field and Oakland had a small handful of starters take the field. The fact that this game was played should make people and especially players very frustrated. The NFL should stick to what brought them to the dance over the past 100 years and play NFL games in NFL stadiums. Fields in the stadiums today are treated professionally and in most cases during the NFL season, nobody except players take the field. Last season, many thought the Monday Night Football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams was going to be a Super Bowl preview. The game was slated to be played in Mexico City, but due to weather and numerous other events including a concert taking place days before it was moved to back to LA. If we’re talking about bad field conditions, perhaps we should look at the field Oakland is playing at this season. Oakland Alameda County Coliseum is the only stadium that features and MLB and NFL team sharing a space. During the first half of the season for the Raiders, they play with second base on the field of play. Perhaps they had the home field advantage?
The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas in 2020, meaning they have one more season at the stadium they pay rent at. According to ESPN, the Raiders saved $500,000 in rent by moving one of their exhibition games to Winnipeg.
When players are told to wear certain helmets and other gear, the league can’t send players to Mexico, Canada or even London and expect them to play on altered fields when players have millions of dollars on the line. It may sound like making a mountain out of an anthill, but for Patriots fans, imagine Tom Brady drops back to pass in the endzone and he rolls an ankle in the ditch that was filled hours before the game. Or Julian Edelman does the same running a cross route in the endzone, there’d be a few issues.
Canada has the CFL, London HAD NFL Europe and failed and even Australia has their own football league. Play NFL games in NFL stadiums or even college football stadiums, however, to expect players like Derek Carr, Antonio Brown, Aaron Rodgers or Davante Adams to play in an altered field in Canada in a meaningless game is absolutely ridiculous!
Oddly enough the 22-21 win for Oakland came off of a Daniel Carson 33 yard field goal.
Happy 100th NFL, eh.
-John Luck (@jluck_89)