The record-setting heat of the summer of 2016 is causing problems all over the world, and it looks like it just claimed another victim: the start of pre-season play for America’s favorite sport. Tonight’s NFL Hall of Fame game between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts has been cancelled due to extremely poor field conditions – specifically, paint and rubber on the field melted under high heat forming an exceptionally sticky, hardened mess that ESPN’s Adam Schefter said earlier today “would be like playing on tar.”
“Due to safety concerns with the condition of the playing surface in Canton, tonight’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers has been cancelled,” said the NFL and NFL Player’s Association in a statement. “We are very disappointed for our fans, but player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight.”
According to Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker, the paint became “congealed and rubberized,” sparking fears that players might injure themselves. Fixing the problem would apparently require unspecified work under the surface of the field, Baker told NFL Media. The problem was apparently exacerbated by a Tim Mcgraw concert on Friday and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday night – a tarp and possibly planks of an unknown material covered the field both nights. The field’s current artificial turf was installed earlier this year. The NFL has said that a permanent surface will be installed to replace it.
Traditionally the official start of the NFL pre-season, the Hall of Fame game was to be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Notably, ESPN’s Tom Jackson, who announced his retirement after 29 years earlier this week, was to have his final assignment covering tonight’s game. Aside from denying Jackson his last gig, the cancellation will also end up costing the Hall of Fame organization around $4 million in revenues.
The pre-season will now begin next weekend with the Dallas Cowboys facing the newly-returned Los Angeles Rams Aug. 13, set to air on ESPN.