A Monday night fiesta in Mexico City has been moved to another country. The National Football League announced Tuesday afternoon it will move next week’s Monday Night Football game from Mexico City to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions.
The scheduled game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams has become one of the most-anticipated matchups of the 2018 regular season. They are currently No. 2 and 3 in NFL power rankings, both teams are 9-1, both have high-flying, marquee offenses and both are heavy favorites to make it to their conference championship games with a Super Bowl bid on the line.
So when several players from each team openly said they would consider skipping the game for safety and health reasons, the NFL listened. The league made a swift decision Tuesday to move the Monday game, which is sure to be a ratings bonanza, to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — home of the Rams.
“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” Mark Waller, NFL executive vice president of international, said in a statement Tuesday. “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But, the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium, have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game.
“As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision, and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”
Rain, futbol (soccer) and concerts took their toll on the field at Estadio Azteca. Crews were seen laying sod and trying to make repairs to the field for a game that’s not for another six days.
The NFL plays several games in international venues every year, most notably London. Every season the NFL, in an effort to expand its brand beyond America’s borders, plays at least one game in Mexico. However, the designated home team for each international game has an obligation to keep their home stadium available in the case of unseen circumstances.
The Rams share The Coliseum with the USC Trojans, and often times this season the two teams have played on back-to-back days. The only real problems they’ve had this season is paint on the field from the Saturday night Trojans game that’s still visible to a Sunday afternoon Rams game crowd.
Ticket information for the change of venue is not yet available. As for the odds? The Rams were a 2.5-point favorite in Mexico, but have jumped to a 3.5-point favorite so far at home, according to Jeff Sherman of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas.
SOURCE: Newsweek – Scott McDonald