NFL moving Monday night’s Chiefs-Rams game out of Mexico City
The field was torn up by a Shakira concert last month and hasn't been restored well enough to play on.
After an all-day back-and-forth, the NFL is making the call to move Monday night's high-profile matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams from Mexico City to the Rams' home stadium, the L.A. Coliseum.
Poor field conditions at Estadio Azteca, where the game was to be played, prompted the last-minute change.
According to Yahoo, a Shakira concert held at the stadium a month ago ruined the field. Despite an effort to repair it, Azteca stadium officials were unable to bring the playing surface up to NFL quality in time.
League and team representatives traveled to Mexico City for a "mandatory inspection" on Monday, and made the call Tuesday afternoon.
Video shared on social media on Saturday shows what kind of state the field is in.
Monday's game between the 9-1 Chiefs and the 9-1 Rams is expected to be one of the biggest games of the second half of the NFL season. It was part of the NFL's international series — the other three games were played in London, including the Eagles' win over the Jaguars on Oct. 28.
While the international series has taken place since 2007, Mexico City was only brought into the mix in 2016. The Raiders beat the Texans at Estadio Azteca in November of that year; the Raiders lost to the Patriots in last year's edition.
The game is moving to Los Angeles because of NFL contingency plans, according to the Los Angeles Times. The league requires the game's home team "also has to have its home stadium available in the event a game has to be relocated."
The Rams play near downtown L.A., but practice 45 miles away in Thousand Oaks, where 12 people were killed in a Nov. 7 shooting at a bar. Just two days after the violence, the Rams cancelled a Friday practice due to the fast-moving Woosley fire. A number of players and personnel were forced to evacuate their homes.
"We just felt like, most importantly, it was for the guys to be with their families, their wives, their kids, and kind of be with that support structure and do things the right way and not have them come in and be totally distracted," said Sean McVay, the Rams' head coach, to the media last week.
Those who had to evacuate include defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, general manager Les Snead and quarterback Jared Goff according to local and national media.
>> READ MORE: Gabe Kapler's Malibu home destroyed by wildfire
News broke later on Tuesday that the Rams plan to give away tickets to those affected by the fires, according to an ESPN reporter.
The Rams weren't the only team dealing with tragedy over the weekend. The stepdad of the girlfriend of Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs' starting quarterback, died while attending Sunday's game at Arrowhead Stadium.
"We're sorry to hear about what took place yesterday," said Andy Reid — former Eagles head coach and current Chiefs head coach — on Monday. "Our prayers and blessings are with the family. I've talked to Patrick and they're doing well for the circumstance that took place."
Le’Veon Bell not playing
Sorry, fantasy owners — you won't be seeing Le'Veon Bell on the field at all this year. Not for the Steelers, not for the Eagles, not for anyone.
The running back had a 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline to visit Steelers headquarters and sign his franchise tender. He didn't show up.
" … [A]s a result, he will not be eligible to play football during the 2018 season," said Kevin Colbert, Steelers general manager, in a statement.
ESPN says Bell is in Pittsburgh but did not report. In missing the deadline, Bell forfeits $14.5 million he would have received this season.
Bell will be a free agent after the season. And when it comes to 2019 … yes, odds are already out. The Eagles have 7-to-1 odds to recruit the 26-year-old.