An eighty-yard field in Canada for Raiders-Packers.

There have been a whole lot of issues around the Oakland Raiders-Green Bay Packers Thursday night preseason game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, from pricey tickets and low ticket sales to concerns about the field. And one of those latter concerns actually wound up being a big deal, and wound up leading to the game being played on a field that’s only 80 yards long (plus 10-yard end zones), providing a total of 100 yards versus the normal NFL 120 (100-yard field, 10-yard end zones). It looks pretty silly, with pylons set up at the 10-yard line and goal line on each side to create artificial end zones. Here’s the report on it on the Raiders’ preseason broadcast from JT The Brick:

Here’s how it looked in-game:

And here’s the statement the NFL later put out:

A NFL statement on the field in Winnipeg.

This is even more remarkable considering that this is at Investors Group Field, home of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The CFL normally plays on a field that’s 110 yards long and has 20 yard end zones, giving it a total length of 150 yards. So this altered field is just two-thirds of the length of a CFL field. But it came around thanks to NFL requirements for this game; the CFL goalposts were moved and new, taller NFL goalposts were installed, but there was a “hole” in the field on one end where the old CFL goalposts were. And that spawned numerous attempts to “fix” it before everyone gave up and agreed to play on an 80-yard field:

The moved goalposts were just part of the many alterations made to Investors Group Field ahead of the game. Here’s how Paul Friesen of The Winnipeg Sun described those Wednesday:

Installing new, taller goal posts in new locations meant burying concrete anchors in each end zone, to the tune of $40,000.

With NFL players worth so much more than CFL players, the asphalt outside the sidelines had to be covered in turf. Wouldn’t want a player slipping and suing the league or the organizers. Another $100,000.

To ensure one team’s coaches don’t have an advantage, a wall had to be knocked down in the spotters booths to make the room the same size for both.

But moving the goalposts wound up being a big deal, and it wound up leading to a highly unusual NFL game.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.