The Hall of Fame Game has long been the official start to the NFL preseason games, but this year there will not be an actual game. Reports have been coming out of Canton, Ohio, that the exhibition contest between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was about to be canceled, and now it’s been made official.
The Hall of Fame Game was reportedly canceled because of the wrong paint being used on the field. While this normally wouldn’t be an issue, the paint that was used at the 50-yard-line was far too sticky for the field, and both teams were concerned about the safety of their players.
According to ESPN, several players said the paint had made the center of the field “like cement.” Crews had been working on the field for several hours by, including spraying solvent on the paint. It appears all attempts to fix the field have failed as the NFL eventually announced the full cancellation of the game.
“The end zones are just as bad,” another player said around 90 minutes before the scheduled 8 p.m. ET kickoff. While being tackled onto this super hard paint was a worry, it was more the fact that cleats weren’t able to find a purchase.
The Colts talked about the issue as it pertained to the Hall of Fame Game and said cleats weren’t able to penetrate some of the treated areas. In other words, it would have seemed as though players were indeed running on cement or ice.
The representatives for the game have gone out of their way to say this wasn’t the same kind of surface that caused Steeler’s kicker Shaun Suisham to suffer a season-ending injury. The fact that the Hall of Fame needed to point that out seemed to hint at a problem all its own.
Not surprisingly, those watching the situation unfold were far from pleased with how the league handled the situation. The Indianapolis Star had a roundup of some of the reactions to the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game and they were about what you might expect. Reporters that were there on the ground talked about fans still filing into the stadium in Canton.
Other fans, who had been inside when the contest was canceled were walking the other way, with looks of confusion on their faces. Other people who understood the situation were talking about how this was an embarrassing moment for the league.
The paper had a number of players’ reactions as well. Most seemed to have wanted to play the game, but they also understood why it was canceled. Some of the players took it on themselves to make sure the fans who had paid very good money and even traveled across the country to see the Hall of Fame Game were treated properly.
More reports have come out that one of the reasons the field is so bad is because it was basically one that was already used. Those reports indicate the field was “donated” from the New Orleans Saints. One has to wonder why the NFL couldn’t pony up the money to buy a new field for the Hall of Fame game.
A visibly agitated Colts owner Jim Irsay expressed frustration that the Hall of Fame Game had to be canceled https://t.co/1ed3WGMiHF— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 8, 2016
Others have openly wondered whether or not the field is owned by other people and it would not be entirely the league’s fault if the field was in bad shape. Of course, the rebuttal to this could be that the league still should have been making sure it was ready to play the Hall of Fame Game.
At this point, there isn’t much that can be done one way or another. The Hall of Fame Game has been canceled and the fans that were there are the ones that have to deal with the consequences.
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]