Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sunday August 7th 2016 (at Canton, OH)
CANTON, Ohio -- The emotions from Brett Favre's induction speech could still be felt at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday night as crews began to transform it from a theater-like setup back into a football stadium. It wasn't until about three hours before the Pro Football Hall of Fame game was scheduled for kickoff that anyone realized there was a problem with the painted logos at midfield and in the end zone that ultimately forced the cancellation of the NFL's annual kickoff game. It's no wonder that Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy didn't shoot down the idea that the two events should be held at separate venues on the Pro Football Hall of Fame grounds. "I think that's a question for later," Murphy said Sunday night. "When we get together at league meetings, I think we need to look at some of those issues." By the time Murphy spoke, the puzzle pieces to this strange beginning to the NFL preseason had become clear. Interviews with personnel from both the Packers and the Colts helped, well, paint a clearer picture of what went wrong. "I found out about two hours before the game," Murphy said. "I don't know when it was painted, but during the warm-ups, I think, the issue was noticed and brought to the attention of officials." The logos at midfield and the lettering in the end zone had, in fact,
been painted well in advance. When the paint
congealed, heaters were brought in and it only made
the matter worse. The paint became even more sticky
and in the process melted some of the rubber pellets
that sit just below the surface of the FieldTurf. Players
immediately voiced their concerns to coaches,
equipment staff and even team medical personnel. One
Packers player described the midfield area "like
cement" as workers tried to fix it. The same player said
the end zones were "just as bad." That was about an
hour and a half prior to kickoff. Considering workers to
that point had spent 90 minutes just on the midfield
area, there was no way they could've gotten both end zones up to par. "It was something that shouldn't have occurred," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "We're going to make sure it doesn't happen again." It was no surprise to hear fans boo Hall of Fame president David Baker when he finally told the crowd, left in the dark until right about the scheduled kickoff time, that the game had been canceled. "There was a lot of
conversation but, at the end of the day, you've got to make a decision and the decision was made for player safety," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's not how you got there or why you got there. It was the right decision. I give David Baker a lot of credit for doing the right thing."