The Oakland Raiders edged the Green Bay Packers 22-21 on Thursday night.
As far as preseason games go, it was pretty pedestrian, aside from one very strange fact—it was contested on an 80-yard field. Why?
The exhibition was played at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but the shortened field dimensions had nothing to do with metric system shenanigans—it was due to concerns over a bumpy area of turf in both end zones.
See, due to the whacky dimensions used in the Canadian Football League, there was previously a goal post smack dab in the middle of where the NFL puts their end zones. Both goal posts were removed, but it left awkward, uneven patches of turf in their wake:
Concerns over the turf potentially causing injury were raised, and it was eventually decided the game would be played on an 80-yard field (plus two 10-yard end zones) to take the questionable turf out of play. Kickoffs were also eliminated, instead giving automatic possession to the would-be receiving team on their own 15-yard line.
The Packers were planning to have starters like Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones play, but the turf was a big enough issue for Green Bay to keep them on the sideline. Seeing pro football players play on a shortened field was…strange:
All the hubbub about a patch of turf is also pretty funny considering the Raiders have long played home games on a literal baseball field:
For what it’s worth, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the field was never an issue for his team.
“I’m not going to make a big deal about the field. We like the field. We thought the field was perfectly ready to roll. You’d have to ask Green Bay about that,” Gruden said after the game. “We thought the field was perfectly fine.”
And who says preseason isn’t exciting?
Photo Credit: @Raiders on Twitter