Don’t blame the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers if they gave a less-than-100-percent effort in Thursday night’s NFL preseason game: The field was only 80 yards long.
Because of some concerns about the turf at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba – the neutral site for the contest – game officials and staff from both teams decided to shorten the field, lopping off the areas where goal posts are normally located for Canadian Football League games.
As a result, and with the start of the NFL regular season just two weeks away, both teams decided to rest many of their star players for the league’s first game in Canada in nearly six years.
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Under normal conditions, the CFL uses a 110-yard field with 20-yard end zones while a standard NFL field is 100 yards long with 10-yard end zones.
For Thursday night, end zones were marked by bright orange pylons at the field’s 10-yard lines and there were no kickoffs, the Associated Press reported.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur decided to sit 33 players, including star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones. Oakland didn’t play starting quarterback Derek Carr or receiver Antonio Brown.
In the end, Daniel Carson kicked a 33-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining, giving the Raiders a bizarre 22-21 victory.
Tim Boyle, Rodgers’ backup, threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Davis and a 26-yarder to Jake Kumerow. Tra Carson ran for a touchdown for the Packers, and Green Bay led 21-10 at halftime.
The Raiders’ Nathan Peterman, who replaced Carr, threw two touchdown passes, including a 17-yarder to De’Mornay Pierson-El in the fourth quarter that cut Green Bay’s lead to 21-19. His 2-point conversion attempt was intercepted.
Oakland coach Jon Gruden said the playing surface didn’t concern him.
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“I’m not going to make a big deal about the field,” Gruden said. “We liked the field. We thought the field was perfectly ready to roll. You’ll have to ask Green Bay about that.”
The Raiders decided to relocate the game to Winnipeg to save $500,000 in rent at the Oakland Coliseum. The team is planning to move to Las Vegas in 2020.
The last time an NFL game was played in Canada was in December 2013, when the Buffalo Bills faced the Atlanta Falcons in Toronto.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.