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NFL “immediately” realized Azteca Stadium field would not meet the standard for play

The NFL made the right decision to move the Chiefs-Rams game from Mexico City to Los Angeles, says Mike Florio. However, he wonders what took so long to make the decision.

At least one report that emerged in the hours before the NFL pulled the plug on playing the Chiefs-Rams game at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City characterized the league as being “determined” to play the game as scheduled. That characterization was grossly optimistic, as best.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Rams field inspectors and NFL game-day operations representatives “immediately” realized that the field would not meet the NFL’s standard for play.

That realization came early enough to shift the game to L.A., but late enough to be an embarrassment to the NFL and an inconvenience to fans that had planned to travel to Mexico City for the game. Yes, the NFL did the right thing; based on the quality of the field, the NFL did the only thing it could have done.

Moving forward, what can be done (what should be done) is that these assessments need to be made much sooner than the week before the game. Even though the league requires the home team for international contests to keep its home stadium available, shifting an international game back to domestic soil less than a week before kickoff isn’t a good look, and it gives fans who already view dimly the effort to export the top American sport another reason to grumble about the league’s ongoing obsession with globalizing football.