The Raiders’ trip to Canada is not going well. They gave away a preseason home game to play the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg and, let’s be honest, decrease the rent owed to the Oakland Coliseum.
The exhibition has been compromised by concerns over the artificial playing surface at IG Field, host to a CFL team and a professional soccer club. Most notably, by a hole in one of the end zones.
Canadian football is played on different field dimensions, so the place where CFL goal posts are is right in the middle of an NFL end zone.
Officials grew concerned about the issue, and after an attempt to remedy the issue and several discussions between Raiders and Packers officials, the teams decided to play on an 80-yard field. Officials put pylons on the 10-yard line to mark the start of the end zone. They eliminated kickoffs, though punting was permitted.
Yeah, you read that right.
“Tonight’s game is being played on a reconfigured field,” the NFL said in a statement. “The field met mandatory practices for the maintenance of surfaces for NFL games based on an inspection yesterday.
“Concerns arose today surrounding the area where the Blue Bombers’ goal posts were previous located. The 10-yard line will function as the goal line in this game. In lieu of kickoffs, the ball will be placed at the 15-yard line.”
It was a solution decided just before the proposed 5 p.m. Thursday night kickoff, one made to salvage the experience for a market new to NFL football and get some work in just a few weeks before the regular season begins.
The Raiders weren’t expected to play their frontline starters before all this. The Packers pulled all of their impact starters, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams.
The Raiders followed suit. They didn't play quarterback Derek Carr and every other offensive starter. Maurice Hurst and Brandon Marshall were the only frontline defensive players in the game. The Silver and Black even sat second-line players expected to be impactful this season.