NFL game leaves Mexico


Football

Staff & Wire Reports



Mexico's Azteca Stadium is seen from above in Mexico City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams' Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Mexico's Azteca Stadium is seen from above in Mexico City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams' Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)


Mexico's Azteca Stadium is seen from above in Mexico City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams' Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)


FILE - In this June 27, 2018, file photo, supporters of presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the MORENA party, fill Azteca stadium as they wait for him to arrive for his closing campaign rally in Mexico City. The abused hybrid grass of the Azteca Stadium is generating concerns for its poor condition a week before it hosts an NFL regular-season game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. Last May, stadium authorities changed the surface from natural to hybrid. But the intense activity in the last few months has prevented the grass from reaching an optimum state. (AP Photo/Christian Palma, File)


Chiefs-Rams game moved from Mexico City to LA due to field

By GREG BEACHAM

AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, November 14

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NFL moved the Rams’ Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles on Tuesday due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium.

The league announced the extraordinary decision six days before one of the most-anticipated regular-season games of the year.

In a news release, the league said it determined that the recently re-sodded field at Mexico City’s historic stadium “does not meet NFL standards for playability and consistency, and will not meet those standards by next Monday.”

The Rams (9-1) will host the Chiefs (9-1) at the Coliseum instead. The much-anticipated game is just the fifth meeting since 1970 between teams with one or fewer losses in Week 11 or later.

The decision creates a morass of logistical concerns for the teams and fans traveling to Mexico, and it disappoints thousands of Mexican fans eager to see a marquee matchup in North America’s most populous city. But the league consulted with the players’ association and local officials before deciding it couldn’t risk the players’ health on a damaged field.

“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,” said Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of international. “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.”

Azteca officials changed the playing surface from natural grass to a hybrid in May, but the turf hasn’t been ideal for several months. Concern about the field grew in recent days when aerial photos of the stadium showed serious damage to the grass, particularly on the end of the stadium recently used for a major concert.

Cruz Azul, the Liga MX soccer club that shares the stadium with Club America, played a tournament game on the field last Saturday in noticeably poor conditions. Coach Pedro Caixinha expressed concern, and the NFL continued working with groundskeepers to improve the field.

“The long and unusual rain season, as well as the calendar of events with third parties in Estadio Azteca, might be a factor for the grass to be far from optimal conditions,” Azteca Stadium authorities said in a press release.

The Rams are required to keep the Coliseum available as a backup in case of a problem with international games. They immediately announced plans for ticket sales starting Wednesday, with season ticket holders allowed to buy their own seats and up to four more.

The Rams also will give away thousands of seats to first responders and people affected by recent tragedies in Southern California. Deadly wildfires have ravaged several areas near the Rams’ training complex in Thousand Oaks for the past week, and 12 people were killed in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks last Wednesday night.

The move also creates big logistical obstacles for “Monday Night Football” broadcaster ESPN, which will have to shift its operations back to the West Coast.

“We have been in communication with the NFL and we understand the league’s decision,” the network said in a statement. “We are already in the process of adjusting our plans and will be ready to present this much-anticipated matchup on Monday Night Football from Los Angeles. We also remain committed to identifying future opportunities with the league to engage its already strong fan base in Mexico.”

Azteca hosted the first regular-season game ever held outside the U.S. in 2005 when Arizona beat San Francisco. The stadium has hosted several NFL exhibitions, and the Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans and New England Patriots all played regular-season games there over the past two years.

The Rams played in England in each of the previous two seasons, and they are expected to have another international game next season, as required of teams playing in a temporary home stadium.

Both the Rams and the Chiefs were due to play in Mexico for the first time next week. Kansas City has played just one regular-season game outside the U.S., going to London in 2015.

The Rams are in the third of four seasons at the Coliseum before their new multi-billion-dollar stadium complex in Inglewood opens in 2020. The venerable Coliseum hasn’t hosted a “Monday Night Football” game since October 1985, and the Rams haven’t hosted a game there on a Monday night since 1979, before they moved to Anaheim and then St. Louis.

The Rams traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Monday to spend their week of practice in high altitudes to prepare for Mexico City’s conditions — and they plan to stay put anyway.

Several players and coaches are still displaced from their homes near their training complex in Thousand Oaks by evacuations due to fire danger, and the Rams already transported the families and friends of many players and employees to Colorado Springs. The Rams currently plan to fly home on the weekend.

More AP NFL: www.apnews.com/NFL and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

OHSAA Announces Football State Semifinal Bracket Pairings

This weekend’s regional champions will meet November 23 and 24 in the state semifinals

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced how the football regional champions will be paired in four of the OHSAA’s seven divisions for next week’s state semifinals. Three of the divisions (II, IV and V) cannot be determined until after the regional championships have been decided.

The football state semifinal pairings are not predetermined because they are based almost entirely on geography of the competing schools to keep travel time to a minimum. Regional seeds, records or rankings do not factor into the state semifinal pairings.

Brackets and more playoff information is posted at: https://ohsaa.org/sports/football

This week’s regional finals notes packet is posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Portals/0/Sports/Football/2018/2018FBRelease4.pdf

Division I State Semifinals – Friday, Nov. 23, 7 PM

Home team listed first. Sites to be announced Sunday, Nov. 18.

Region 2 vs. Region 1

Region 3 vs. Region 4

Division I Regional Finals – Friday, Nov. 16. Pairings shown with regional seed and record.

Region 1: 1 Mentor (11-1) vs. 7 Lakewood St. Edward (8-3) at Euclid Community Field

Region 2: 4 Powell Olentangy Liberty (8-4) vs. 2 Dublin Coffman (11-1) at New Albany Veterans Field at Eagle Stadium

Region 3: 1 Hilliard Davidson (11-1) vs. 6 Pickerington Central (10-2) at Gahanna Lincoln Wilbur C. Strait Field

Region 4: 1 Cin. Colerain (12-0) vs. 3 Cin. Elder (8-4) at Mason Dwire Field, Atrium Stadium

Division II State Semifinals – Friday, Nov. 23, 7 PM

State semifinal pairings will be determined after regional finals. Pairings and sites announced Sunday, Nov. 18.

Division II Regional Finals – Friday, Nov. 16. Pairings shown with regional seed and record.

Region 5: 1 Akron Archbishop Hoban (12-0) vs. 2 Maple Hts. (12-0) at Twinsburg Tiger Stadium

Region 6: 1 Tol. Central Cath. (12-0) vs. 3 Avon (11-1) at Clyde Robert J. Bishop Jr. Stadium

Region 7: 1 Massillon Washington (12-0) vs. 3 Wadsworth (12-0) at North Canton Hoover Memorial Stadium

Region 8: 1 Cin. Winton Woods (11-1) vs. 7 Cin. Anderson (9-3) at Lakota West Firebird Field

Division III State Semifinals – Friday, Nov. 23, 7 PM

Home team listed first. Sites to be announced Sunday, Nov. 18.

Region 12 vs. Region 10

Region 11 vs. Region 9

Division III Regional Finals – Friday, Nov. 16. Pairings shown with regional seed and record.

Region 9: 1 Canfield (11-1) vs. 2 Chagrin Falls Kenston (11-1) at Warren G. Harding Mollenkopf Stadium

Region 10: 4 Norwalk (9-3) vs. 6 Sandusky (8-4) at First National Bank Field at Bellevue Athletic Facility

Region 11: 4 Cols. Eastmoor Academy (11-1) vs. 6 Thornville Sheridan (11-1) at Lancaster Fulton Field

Region 12: 1 Kettering Archbishop Alter (11-1) vs. 2 Wapakoneta (11-1) at Piqua Alexander Stadium

Division IV State Semifinals – Saturday, Nov. 24, 7 PM

State semifinal pairings will be determined after regional finals. Pairings and sites announced Sunday, Nov. 18.

Division IV Regional Finals – Saturday, Nov. 17. Pairings shown with regional seed and record.

Region 13: 5 Girard (11-1) vs. 3 Hubbard (11-1) at Niles McKinley Bo Rein Stadium

Region 14: 1 Bellville Clear Fork (12-0) vs. 2 St. Marys Memorial (11-1) at Bellefontaine AcuSport Stadium

Region 15: 1 St. Clairsville (12-0) vs. 7 Newark Licking Valley (9-3) at Zanesville Sulsberger Stadium

Region 16: 1 Cin. Wyoming (12-0) vs. 6 London (11-1) at Centerville Stadium

Division V State Semifinals – Saturday, Nov. 24, 7 PM

State semifinal pairings will be determined after regional finals. Pairings and sites announced Sunday, Nov. 18.

Division V Regional Finals – Saturday, Nov. 17. Pairings shown with regional seed and record.

Region 17: 1 Orrville (10-2) vs. 2 Akr. Manchester (9-3) at Canal Fulton Northwest Dr. Martin Smilek Stadium, Jim Schalmo Field

Region 18: 1 Genoa Area (12-0) vs. 2 Liberty Center (11-1) at Millbury Lake Community Stadium

Region 19: 1 Johnstown-Monroe (11-1) vs. 3 Byesville Meadowbrook (9-3) at Zanesville Maysville Athletic Complex

Region 20: 1 Wheelersburg (11-1) vs. 2 Middletown Madison (12-0) at Hilliard Darby Stadium

Division VI State Semifinals – Friday, Nov. 23, 7 PM

Home team listed first. Sites to be announced Sunday, Nov. 18.

Region 23 vs. Region 21

Region 22 vs. Region 24

Division VI Regional Finals – Friday, Nov. 16. Pairings shown with regional seed and record.

Region 21: 1 Mogadore (11-1) vs. 2 Kirtland (12-0) at Aurora Veterans Stadium

Region 22: 1 Attica Seneca East (11-1) vs. 7 Sherwood Fairview (9-3) at Findlay Donnell Stadium

Region 23: 4 Shadyside (10-2) vs. 2 Beverly Ft. Frye (11-0) at Byesville Meadowbrook Eugene Capers Field

Region 24: 1 Coldwater (10-2) vs. 3 Maria Stein Marion Local (11-1) at Sidney Memorial Stadium

Division VII State Semifinals – Saturday, Nov. 24, 7 PM

Home team listed first. Sites to be announced Sunday, Nov. 18.

Region 28 vs. Region 26

Region 25 vs. Region 27

Division VII Regional Finals – Saturday, Nov. 17. Pairings shown with regional seed and record.

Region 25: 1 Cuyahoga Heights (10-2) vs. 7 Warren John F. Kennedy (7-5) at Macedonia Nordonia Boliantz Stadium

Region 26: 5 McComb (11-1) vs. 2 Edgerton (12-0) at Defiance Fred Brown Athletic Complex

Region 27: 1 Lucas (10-2) vs. 3 Glouster Trimble (11-1) at Hamilton Township Alumni Stadium

Region 28: 1 Fort Loramie (11-1) vs. 2 Convoy Crestview (11-1) at Lima Spartan Stadium

Mexico’s Azteca Stadium is seen from above in Mexico City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams’ Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121773512-9285aea99d7e415bb8f7ece7081e2c3c.jpgMexico’s Azteca Stadium is seen from above in Mexico City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams’ Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Mexico’s Azteca Stadium is seen from above in Mexico City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams’ Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121773512-3cf06fbfd7464f79a700c05e045c1fe3.jpgMexico’s Azteca Stadium is seen from above in Mexico City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The NFL has moved the Los Angeles Rams’ Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs from Mexico City to Los Angeles due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

FILE – In this June 27, 2018, file photo, supporters of presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the MORENA party, fill Azteca stadium as they wait for him to arrive for his closing campaign rally in Mexico City. The abused hybrid grass of the Azteca Stadium is generating concerns for its poor condition a week before it hosts an NFL regular-season game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. Last May, stadium authorities changed the surface from natural to hybrid. But the intense activity in the last few months has prevented the grass from reaching an optimum state. (AP Photo/Christian Palma, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121773512-5d036d3e15af4dacbb64742be591aa60.jpgFILE – In this June 27, 2018, file photo, supporters of presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the MORENA party, fill Azteca stadium as they wait for him to arrive for his closing campaign rally in Mexico City. The abused hybrid grass of the Azteca Stadium is generating concerns for its poor condition a week before it hosts an NFL regular-season game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. Last May, stadium authorities changed the surface from natural to hybrid. But the intense activity in the last few months has prevented the grass from reaching an optimum state. (AP Photo/Christian Palma, File)
Football

Staff & Wire Reports