Monday night’s marquee matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs reportedly could be relocated from Mexico City to Los Angeles or postponed because of unsafe field conditions.
The playing surface at Azteca Stadium is “a mess” and the safety of the players is a significant enough concern that the league is considering a venue change, ESPN reported Tuesday.
“We are working closely with the field manager at Azteca Stadium and others to ensure that we have an NFL-quality surface for our game, and we are looking forward to kicking off in Mexico City on Monday night,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
Two recent events apparently damaged the hybrid playing surface, a combination of grass and synthetic filler. The stadium hosted a large music concert on Nov. 7 and a soccer match on Saturday.
Images surfaced on social media Tuesday showing what appeared to be new sod being laid down on the field.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the league would announce a final decision, although ESPN reported that NFL officials are expected to meet at the stadium on Tuesday to review the surface.
The Chiefs and Rams share the best record in the NFL at 9-1.
According to NFL rules, the home team in an international game — in this case, Los Angeles — must keep its home stadium available in the event the contest has to be moved.
ESPN reported Tuesday that several members of each team said they would sit out the game if the field is not up to standards. The report added some players want the decision made to move the game to the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
Yahoo reported players from both teams have requested involvement from the NFL Players Association regarding the field conditions, asking that the union inspect the field to determine if it’s safe to play on.
—Field Level Media