As much as Mother Nature tried to give Minnesota Vikings fans their first outdoor home game in over three decades, the NFL had other plans.
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Early this morning, due to significant snow accumulation in excess of 1.5 feet in the Twin Cities, the roof atop the Metrodome collapsed.
The incident put a wrench in today's planned meeting between the N.Y. Giants and the Vikings. Originally scheduled for a noon CST kickoff, event planners in the NFL scrambled to find an alternative solution so the two teams could play.
League officials contemplated hosting the game at TCF Bank stadium, the new home to the University of Minnesota Gold Gophers football team, which would have made for a chilly matchup with subzero temperatures. But school officials said the stadium had been shut down for too long already this year and would take nearly a week to prepare for an NFL game.
Without a local option, the NFL announced the game would be moved to Detroit tomorrow night at 7:20 p.m. EST. The rescheduling provides a unique two-game slate for a Monday, which is traditionally reserved for just one game per week.
The thought of lost revenue was too great to overcome, however, setting the stage for a unique "home" game for the Vikings in Detroit.
Vikings officials said that ticket holders who wish to travel to the game would immediately be upgraded to the best available 50-yardline seats at Ford Field in Detroit tomorrow night.
While nice in theory I find it hard to believe many fans, if any at all, will make the voyage on a work day. Last minute flights are not cheap and the 12-hour drive is far too much to handle. Throw in the thought of having to stay overnight in a hotel and the list of potential travelers to the game dwindles to slim and none.
At least, the ticket holders to the original game scheduled today will be issued refunds.
To help fill the seats, the NFL decided to release free general admission tickets to the public beginning at 9 am EST tomorrow morning.
Anyone in Detroit want to see an NFL game for free? Now's your chance. This ploy will surely draw at least a few fans who would otherwise watch from the confines of their homes or not watch at all.
Even though I'm not a Vikings fan despite my close proximity to the dome (about a mile) I will certainly tune into this unique sporting event. My main reason for watching will be to see how full, or empty the crowd is.
Tomorrow's matchup makes me wonder: If two teams play a game in an unaffiliated city and nobody shows up to watch it, did it actually occur?