Officially, it was poor field conditions at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium that got Sunday night's Hall of Fame game cancelled. It might have actually been the terrible paint that was used on the field that congealed and made it like walking through tar. Or maybe it was Tim McGraw.
Okay, it wasn't totally McGraw, who played a concert at the stadium on Friday night, part of the weekend's festivities in Canton. But it's not like he insisted on having the concert on the field where renovations weren't yet completed; he just got paid to be there by the folks planning the event.
(If it had been a Kenny Chesney concert, totally different story. Remember what happened at Heinz Field in 2013?)
Everyone had a really great time at the show, including this year's inductees like the Ol' Gunslinger, but you knew he was going to have an awesome time at a Tim McGraw concert.
The weather presented a little bit of a problem for the concert itself, but not enough to shut it down.
Oh no rain! pic.twitter.com/xxdEDkNT43— Beth McLeod (@BethHMcLeod) August 6, 2016
But that probably didn't help the field all that much.
Nevertheless, the NFL slapped some paint on it and decided to have a game, until people actually saw what the field looked and felt like on Sunday afternoon.
This isn't the first time the field conditions have been an issue at the stadium. The field was junk last year too, as Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams pointed out after this year's game was cancelled.
Hey @NFL it was that terrible last year but u didn't cancel the game we had our kicker tear his acl and a few mcl strains so thanks— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) August 8, 2016
Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham tore his ACL in that game, effectively ending his career.
The stadium started undergoing renovations right after last year's Hall of Fame game, thanks to a donation from Saints owner Tom Benson. In fact, Benson's donation included the turf from the Superdome itself, which was used there last season.
The project was set to move into its final phase after Sunday's game. The local high school team that normally uses the field moved its games elsewhere for the season.
But the NFL isn't one to let something like field conditions get in the way of its bottom line. If that were the case, games at Wembley Stadium in London would've been nixed in the past and nobody would play at Levi's Stadium.
It usually takes an act of God or a terrible national tragedy to force the NFL to cancel games. Maybe this is a sign the recent initiative to address field conditions is more than just the league's usual window dressing.
For now, let's just blame Tim McGraw.