Last week, the Raiders and Packers met in preseason action in Winnipeg, playing on the Bombers’ field of the Canadian Football League. The problem was, because in Canadian football the goal posts are at the front of the end zone, there were turf problems in converting it to an NFL regulation sized field.
What resulted was surreal and hysterical, as they decided the patch of turf placed over the concrete that housed the goal posts wasn’t safe and instead chose to play on an 80-yard field, with goal lines being moved up to the 10. Because this decision was made shortly before kickoff, the field was already painted, so the end zones were only marked by the pylons being moved up.
Both teams decided not to play their starters in the game due to the conditions and the game proceeded on the shortened field. This week’s Hard Knocks will feature plenty of footage from the 80-yard field debacle, and the teaser clip for tonight’s episode features Jon Gruden reacting as one would expect — with exasperation and some laughs — to the change to an 80-yard field.
Gruden joking it’s “Arena Football” to Mike Glennon is funny and him asking the referees for an explanation before walking off saying “Yeah, great. That’s great,” shows just how ridiculous he felt all of this was. We’ll get more reactions from others on the Raiders (and likely the Packers) on tonight’s Hard Knocks, which should make for some excellent TV, and hopefully if the NFL decides to go north of the border for an exhibition game in the future they’ll have a better plan for how to convert the field.