As every football fan is now aware, last Sunday night’s Hall of Fame tilt between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was canceled due to poor field conditions. The problem with the field? The quality of the paint used for the logo at midfield and the lettering in the end zones. To me this brings about questions of what seemed to be a string of gaffes by the people responsible for getting sports venues ready for play.
My first question is the obvious. The NFL Hall of Fame Game originated in tn 1962. How is it that the grounds crew at Fawcett Stadium has prepared the field for play in each of the past 54 years and couldn’t get the right paint? How does that happen? Or is it a question of the NFL and other professional sports fine tuning events like this to the point of it being ridiculous.
The paint problem in Canton is another in a series of interesting gaffes in professional sports in recent years.
October 15, 2013, Comerica Park in Detroit: During Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers a power outage occurred causing a delay. There was just one problem, the game was played at 4:00 PM with the outage occurring in sun drenched conditions.
June 6, 2014, AT&T Center in San Antonio: Prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, the air conditioning system malfunctioned. The game went on as planned with complaints from players, coaches and fans about such awful conditions.
Super Bowl XVLII, New Orleans Superdome: Shortly after play resumed following halftime between the Baltimore Ravens and San Fransisco 49ers the game was halted due to a power outage. About half of the lights overlooking the playing field went out, however the field was still lit by the other half.
On the surface, all of these events have an argument for being halted due to sub-par conditions, however I disagree.
First off, what happened in Canton on Sunday should have been inspected by the league, the Hall of Fame and the teams on Saturday This would have allowed time for at the very least, the paint to be scrapped.
Having grown up in the 1960’s and ’70’s I look at the series of events that I discussed earlier through a different set of eyes. Those of you in my age group might remember when sports was more game than TV production.
Consider the days when baseball and football were played in the same place. Shea Stadium in New York was home to both the New York Jets and the New York Mets. The Jets played on a field that ran from home plate to center field, leaving half of the gridiron in the infield dirt. The same was true at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium which housed the Baltimore Orioles and the old Baltimore Colts. It was accepted, that’s the way it was done. In 1993 when the Florida Marlins joined the Major Leagues and called Joe Robbie Stadium home, it drew the ire of Miami Dolphins fans since the Fins had to play September and in 1997 and 2003, October on a field that had a dirt infield at one end.
Who remembers the old Boston Garden and Buffalo Memorial Auditorium? Both buildings had no air conditioning. The Boston Celtics played many NBA Finals games in sweltering heat and used it to their advantage. The Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres played many playoff games in which fog rose from the ice.
Many might remember games at Wrigley Field that were suspended because the players could no longer see the baseball. It was accepted, Wrigley was the last hold out for not having lights.
Sports has become such a network production that it may have lost some of its edge. Imperfection is not necessarily a bad thing.