In a memo sent to all 32 teams today, which was obtained by ESPN, NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent accepted ultimate responsibility for Sunday’s playing-field fiasco that resulted in the Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts being canceled.
“While the HOF field situation underscored the challenges in working with third parties, ultimately I am accountable for ensuring the field is of the highest standard,” said Vincent, who added that the league’s football operations department “must demand and expect an extra level of detail in adhering to NFL standards … for non-club fields.”
The game, which was to be played at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio, was canceled after players and league and team officials deemed the playing surface of the artificial field unsafe, due largely to associated with the painted logos. Among the key takeaways in the league’s review of the incident, according to Vincent:
The decking that covered the field was not fully removed until 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, despite league personnel being told it would be completed by 8 a.m.
The independent field tester, who was not identified, noted in his report that “painting was fairly heavy with some crusting on the surface.” The tester also stated that the crusted paint would “break up once the players ran over it several times.”
Vincent wrote that the league did not give the paint supervisor specific instructions, but noted that the supervisor “gave us the confidence that he knew the procedure on flushing and rinsing down the paint.”
However attempts to break up the paint resulted in other issues, which eventually led to the cancellation of the game.
Vincent wrote: “Going forward, the NFL-NFLPA Field Surface Safety and Performance Committee will study and advise on: injury prevention, improved field surface testing methods, the adoption of tools and techniques to evaluate and improved field surface performance/playability, and other areas that arise, such as those surrounding this incident.”