On a weekend when Marvin talked, the Hall of Fame Game went silent
CANTON, Ohio – This undoubtedly will go down as the Bizarro Hall of Fame Weekend.
Imagine, Marvin Harrison talked.
And the Hall of Fame Game went silent.
Then the sellout crowd of about 25,000 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, on hand Sunday evening to cheer the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers, lustily booed Hall of Fame executive director David Baker as he announced cancellation of the game due to unplayable conditions of the playing surface.
The official announcement came at 8 o’clock, but players began tweeting the news more than an hour earlier.
“It’s a very unusual situation,’’ Colts owner Jim Irsay said. “It’s something that shouldn’t have occurred.
“You know where we are as a league with player safety. Obviously that’s something that’s a No. 1 focus. It’s something that it was the right thing to do . . . we’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’’
Baker said the decision to cancel the game was “difficult,’’ but added it was an “easy, ethical decision.’’ It was made after coaches Chuck Pagano of the Colts and Mike McCarthy and NFL executive Tod Leiweke were consulted.
Irsay stressed everything pointed to the game going off as planned as workers completed transitioning the stadium from Saturday night’s Class of 2016 enshrinement ceremony to Sunday night’s game.
That all changed about two hours prior to kickoff.
According to ESPN, a problem arose after paint was applied to the midfield logo and in the end zones. It was exacerbated when workers sprayed solvent in the midfield area, followed by using heat to dry the excess paint. Citing a source, ESPN reported the heat melted rubber pellets in the FieldTurf.
A source with the Colts told ESPN “the paint on the logo won’t allow a cleat to penetrate it. A definite hazard to player safety.’’
The situation was rare, but not unprecedented. On Aug. 14, 2001, a preseason game between the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles was cancelled due to an unplayable field at Veterans Stadium.
Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb said the disappointing aspect to Sunday night “is (fans) not getting a game from us.’’
Yet to be resolved is how the thousands of fans will be reimbursed for the cancellation.
“I don’t have details yet, but obviously fans came (to Canton),’’ Irsay said. “They were excited about the game. They traveled, they got hotels and all that sort of thing.
“As owners, we’re going to meet and talk. We’re going to make sure that fans are taken care of. All 32 of us owners ultimately are responsible and obviously the commissioner as well.’’
Baker informed the hostile crowd that a “full refund policy’’ would be announced Monday by the Hall of Fame.
Sunday’s game was supposed to be the first of two meetings between the Colts and Packers. With this one wiped out, the one that remains in the one that matters – Nov. 6 in Green Bay.
No longer facing a five-game preseason, the Colts now open their preseason Saturday night at Buffalo.