Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was made available to local media Wednesday afternoon as part of the team’s Lift Up America event, in which Tyson Foods donates more than 30,000 pounds of protein products to organizations and families in need ahead of the holidays.
Given the Tuesday news of the Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Football game moving from Mexico City to the Los Angeles Coliseum, Hunt spoke about on the situation.
“When the concerns first surfaced two or three weeks ago, the league and the Rams sent their personnel down there,” Hunt said. “[They] inspected the field, talked to the folks at Estadio Azteca about trying to improve it and unfortunately it just didn’t happen and so the decision was made by the league in conjunction with the stadium officials that the field was not in condition to host the game.”
While concerns regarding the field began in mid-October due to the effects of a Shakira concert, the decision did not come until earlier this week, according to Hunt.
“It was really this week in terms of moving the game,” he said. “The field had been a concern since that concert, which I think was about a month ago, but I’m used to situations here, even with the Super Bowl, where the field has to be replaced on short notice, and that’s something that can happen. I think the problem in Mexico is that field is a combination synthetic and grass and you can’t just tear down and put sod down like you can a grass field.”
The number one concern of the NFL, per Hunt, was the health of the Chiefs and the Rams.
“I would say it’s 100 percent player safety,” he said. “That’s really what the decision was about. It was not having the players playing on a field that wasn’t safe, and that’s true with any field evaluation.”
Hunt seemed disappointed the game had to be moved to Los Angeles, losing out on a golden opportunity in his mind.
“Well, I certainly don’t think it’s a positive for the league,” Hunt said. “Mexico’s been a central piece to our efforts to grow the game internationally. Obviously, the NFL has a lot of fans in Mexico because of the proximity to the United States and as an organization, we were looking forward to going down there—not only representing the NFL, but also the Chiefs Kingdom.
“It was a great opportunity for us to get to grow our fan base down there, and it’s just not going to happen this year.