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Packers vs. Raiders to Play Preseason on Shorter Field Due to Hole in End Zone

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIAugust 23, 2019

The NFL 100th anniversary logo is seen on the field during an NFL preseason football game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Starters hardly participate in the NFL preseason to begin with, but add in poor field conditions, and you get 33 Green Bay Packers sidelined for their matchup with the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

Those who do play at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, will do so on a shortened field, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky, after a hole was discovered in one of the end zones before kickoff:

Paul Gutierrez @PGutierrezESPN

NFL, #Packers and game officials check out the “hole” in the end zone before #Raiders game. https://t.co/N8JBhBAYx2

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there was talk that the game would be played on an 80-yard field "to avoid the patches." ESPN's Paul Gutierrez confirmed that length, noting the 10-yard lines would serve as the goal lines.

The game will also be void of kickoffs. Teams will instead start each drive at the 25-yard line.

While Packers head coach Matt LeFleur shielded his starters from injury, the risk to participants was still a concern:

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

What's happening with the game in Canada is why some of us sometime roll our eyes when the league talks about player safety.

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

Sure you don’t just want to cancel it? https://t.co/ijcrKmAg9f

Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

Re: Playing on an 80-yard field, with the 10-yard line serving as the goal line for Packers-Raiders. ABSURD https://t.co/2yUcTBpi8Z

On the third play of the game, Packers quarterback Tim Boyle slipped on the turf. Later in the opening quarter, Packers receiver Trevor Davis slipped while returning a punt.

According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the "Raiders were leery of the turf and weren't planning to play many starters" before the hole in the end zone was discovered.

The NFL hasn't fared well with exhibition games played outside teams' regular stadiums. In 2016, the Hall of Fame Game was canceled because of unfit field conditions. Last season, a Monday Night Football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams set for Mexico City was relocated to L.A. because the field at Estadio Azteca was deemed unsafe.