The Hall of Fame Game marks the start of the NFL preseason schedule, and this year’s edition between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. ET from Canton, Ohio. However, poor field conditions led to the game being canceled.
The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement regarding their decision to call off the game:
Due to safety concerns with the condition of the playing surface in Canton, tonight’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers has been cancelled. We are very disappointed for our fans, but player safety is our primary concern, and as Tyrone Crawford Jersey a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight.?
Players first began expressing concern about the field during pregame warmups. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the field is as “hard as concrete,” and a shoddy paint job congealed with the Field Turf, making the end zones and midfield logo almost tar-like.
Field Turf melted on parts of logo, it’s like Zack Martin Jersey rubber, big concern cleats will stick there, major player safety issue pic.twitter.com/VT6Y1UcYR1
— Pete Dougherty (@PeteDougherty) August 7, 2016
This creates an obvious injury risk for the players, in addition to the usual caution teams apply to preseason games. Neither team was planning to play their starters much, if at all (the Packers already planned to sit quarterback Aaron Rodgers), and the bad field conditions made coaches even less eager to send their players out there. With nothing at stake, the decision to cancel this game was an easy one in the end.
With no actual game being played, the two teams instead held a fan-fest activity on the field to try to placate those in attendance and give ESPN something to fill the TV time. The next day, the Pro Football Hall of Fame also announced that it would offer full refunds for anyone who purchased tickets to the canceled game.
An old-school battering ram of a linebacker, Ragland was thought to be a first-round pick by many but fell to the second round. The Bills didn’t let him slip too far though, and traded up to No. 41 in the draft order to take the 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Ragland was expected to be a starter for the Bills as a rookie and was already drawing rave reviews for his performance on the practice field. Just one day before his injury, Bills head coach Rex Ryan called Ragland a “complete player” who just knows how to play the game.