The league announced Tuesday that the game will be played at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Monday, Nov. 19, because the playing surface at Estadio Azteca did not meet NFL standards.
“The decision is based on the determination — in consultation with the NFLPA and following a meeting and field inspection this afternoon by NFL and club field experts as well as local and independent outside experts — that the playing field at Estadio Azteca does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency and will not meet those standards by next Monday,” the league wrote in a statement.
There had been concerns about the field throughout the day.
The field conditions are reportedly “a mess” due to soccer matches as well as concerts, which raised concern about player safety for the NFL game.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that players from both teams were “seriously considering” not playing if the field was as bad as described. One unnamed player quoted by Schefter said, “It’s not fair to risk our health.”
“We have worked extensively with our partners at Estadio Azteca for months in preparation for this game,” Mark Waller, NFL executive vice president of international, said in a statement. “Until very recently, we had no major concerns. But, the combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium, have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game.
“As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision, and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”
The Rams arrived in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Monday to adjust to the high altitude before traveling to Mexico City, where the elevation is about 7,300 feet. They plan to stay in Colorado this week as they go through their practice routine, according to NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano.
The Chiefs (9-1) and Rams (9-1) are scheduled for a bye in Week 12, which is why the game could be scheduled that week.
NFL teams that forgo a home game to play internationally are required to keep their home stadium available as a contingency.
Besides announcing how season ticket-holders and the general public can purchase tickets for the Nov. 19 game, the Rams announced they will be providing thousands of tickets on a complimentary basis to the first responders dealing with the wildfires in Southern California, and to persons affected by the fires and last weeks shooting in Thousand Oaks.