The NFL has decided to move Monday night’s showdown between the 9-1 Chiefs and Rams from Mexico City to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because of poor field conditions at Estadio Azteca, it was announced Tuesday.
Field in Mexico City 'A Mess' ahead of Rams-Chiefs Monday Night Football https://t.co/v8COwvCZA6
— SportsGossip.com (@sportsgossip) November 13, 2018
Players had strongly considered not playing if the league had opted to keep the game in Mexico City, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier Tuesday.
Soccer games and concerts coupled with a significant amount of rainfall there have left the field inside Estadio Azteca a mess.
Rams safety John Johnson saw the current field conditions in Mexico City on social media and tweeted his reaction.
THAT’S OUT🙅🏾♂️ https://t.co/3189rnSbhB
— John Johnson III (@iamjohnthethird) November 13, 2018
Ticket information for the game in L.A. was posted on the Rams’ website Tuesday night, and the refund policy for the game in Mexico City will be announced by the NFL in the coming days.
The league, in a statement:
“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. “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.”
Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff called the development “bittersweet.”
“We were really excited as an organization to play in Mexico,” Demoff said in a phone conversation. “We requested to play in Mexico for our abroad game this year; we spent a lot of time working with the community and business leaders to host a great week and to get our fans excited and really build that fan base.
“On the other hand, for Southern California, what an unbelievable turn of events to be able to get potentially the game of the year here, on Monday night, in the Coliseum.”
Crews were seen installing sod at Estadio Azteca on Tuesday, but the NFL, following an inspection of the field Tuesday afternoon, said the playing surface would not meet NFL standards by Monday.
— Lara Moritz KMBC (@LaraMoritzKMBC) November 13, 2018
The Rams left for Colorado Springs on Monday to train at high altitude for a week before traveling to Mexico City, where the elevation is about 7,300 feet. The team will return to Los Angeles on Saturday.
Wish we could’ve seen Rams nation in Mexico but excited to get back in front of the home fans for MNF. See you there LA #GoRams
— Jared Goff (@JaredGoff16) November 14, 2018
According to Jeff Sherman of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, the Rams would go from 2.5-point favorites to -3.5.
The NFL trying to play games out of the country is all about trying to extend their reach, not about the players. Surprised they chose player safety over global expansion.