Field report: No way Packers, Colts could play

Pete Dougherty
View Comments
Workers try to repair the midfield area of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium before the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday in Canton, Ohio

CANTON, Ohio - There’s no disputing the decision Sunday night: The NFL had to cancel the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.

The field was too dangerous for play.

I was near and eventually walked on the Hall’s logo at midfield while officials from both teams, the NFL and the Hall of Fame discussed whether the field was playable a couple hours before the game. And the UBU turf there was an injury waiting to happen. Same thing in at least one of the end zones.

There were numerous places where something had melted — from what Hall president David Baker said, they used the wrong paint for a Field Turf surface, so it probably was the paint, though it also might have been the turf.

Regardless, the places that had melted were harder than the rest of the field, and sticky. If they’d have played, there almost surely would have been ankle and knee injuries from players’ cleats sticking in those spots. It would have been a disaster.

It wasn’t the entire logo, but good portions of it, mainly where blue and black paint had been used.

And the issue wasn’t only at midfield. At least one end zone was the same. It had “Pro Football Hall of Fame” painted on it, and while the white lettering was fine, much of the red border on all the letters had  melted. You have to assume the other end zone was similarly unplayable.

Just milling about the field, you could tell officials from both teams didn’t want to play. I have to think Packers coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson were mostly glad there wasn’t a game either way. They got in a few extra practices last week and then didn’t have to expose their players to injury in an extra, fifth game that doesn’t count in the standings.

But either way, the league had to call off this game.

Tom Benson Field grounds crews try to repair the questionable areas near midfield before the cancellation of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio August 7, 2016.
View Comments