The NFL announced Tuesday that rather than the Kansas City Chiefs playing their Monday Night Football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City, as originally planned since April, the game would be played at the Los Angeles Coliseum due to poor field conditions at Estadio Azteca.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid came to the podium in Kansas City Thursday showing full trust and support in the league for its decision.
“They take consideration of a lot of things,” he said of the league. “I’m sure there are a lot of things I don’t even know. One thing I do know, we have the best fans in the world. I do know that. I feel for the ones who couldn’t go, as does the organization and the league that have made arrangements.”
The Chiefs and Rams were set to be the first teams to play in Mexico since November of 2017, when the Oakland Raiders “were blown out of Mexico City.”
Some Chiefs seemed disappointed they wouldn’t get that opportunity.
“It’s disappointing for sure just because seeing that environment and seeing that fanbase and how excited they were for the game,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “We wanted to get out there and be in front of all those people and be able to show them American football and everything that we’re doing here.”
Right tackle Mitch Schwartz shared Mahomes’ feelings on the situation.
“I thought it’d be fun to play in Mexico,” Schwartz said. “I’m obviously glad they didn’t put us in any adverse conditions with the field conditions, but not a usual game week, not something you get to do, play very often. I thought it’d be a good experience and I came here the year after the team when to London, so I missed out on that one, so I want to get one of these foreign games in, and hopefully, there will be opportunities down the road, but from a team perspective, I don’t think it really matters. We get on on the plane Sunday and wherever it takes us is where we play ball.”
It has been widely reported that because of the elevation of Mexico City, the Los Angeles Rams opted to move their operation to Denver for the week, the thought being this would help them get their lungs right for the game.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter explained Wednesday that because of the wildfires in California, the Rams would remain there for the week despite the shift to the Coliseum.
Because of the wildfires in California, the Rams and their families will be staying and practicing in Colorado Springs until Saturday, per source. Rams went there to get used to playing at altitude before leaving for Mexico Ciry; now using it as refuge from fires.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 14, 2018
Reid and the Chiefs never saw the need to make such a move (something our own John Dixon saw as an advantage for the Chiefs ahead of the game).
“We were going to stay here for practice,” Reid said. “We did a bunch of studies and talked to people in the offseason and felt like it was best to stay here and practice. We really haven’t had a change much other than going to a hotel in Los Angeles, but other than that, not a lot of changes.”
Wide receiver Chris Conley agreed.
“I think either way it was going to be kind of a road game,” he said. “You never know what conditions you’re going to get. But you know we’re going to be in LA now, and they’re going to be excited about this game and the world’s going to be watching. But you really tune out the things that are outside of those white lines and you play your game.”
The only NFL show in the country on Monday night, the Los Angeles Coliseum, which holds more than 78,000 people, should be rocking for the game.
“It’s going to be loud,” Mahomes said. “The Coliseum has a lot of historic value and the place is going to be packed. It’s definitely going to be a little different where you were hoping you’d get a little more of a neutral crowd, whereas in L.A. there’s going to be a lot of Rams fans there.
“You have to be used to that when you play in the NFL. We’ve played in a lot of hostile environments and hopefully, we can get some Chiefs fans out there too.”
Ever a league supporter, Reid told reporters he looks forward to playing in Mexico City sometime in the future.
“We looked forward to that,” Reid said. “The whole NFL did I think, and our fans, the ones that were going to travel there. Great people. We will be back. I know the National Football League will be back. How much they care about our neighbors there says that.”