Sunday, December 12, 2010

Metrodome roof collapses due to heavy snow

The roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis has collapsed under the weight of nearly two feet of snow, and now the Giants and Vikings, who were rescheduled to play under it on Monday night, likely won’t be able to play there at all.

The team woke up to that news this morning in Kansas City, where they’ve been stranded since yesterday by the historic blizzard that’s wreaking havoc in Minnesota. They were originally scheduled to play the Vikings in Minneapolis today, but late last night the game was pushed back to Monday at 8 p.m.

However, overnight, according to reports out of Minneapolis, the Teflon-coated fiberglass roof on what is now known as Mall of America Field, collapsed under the weight of 17-plus inches of snow. According to reports, there were “several tears” in the roof and snow on the field.

Officials were enroute to assess the damage, but it almost certainly makes the stadium unusable by tomorrow.

An NFL spokesman said, via Twitter, only that the league “will update all ASAP.”

The Giants, meanwhile, had tentative plans to fly from Kansas City this morning at 11 a.m. CT. Asked if those plans are still on, a Giants spokesman said “Stay tuned.”

It’s not clear what the NFL’s options are, especially with the two teams in different cities. There is precedent for moving a game. In 2005, the Giants’ game against the Saints in New Orleans was eventually moved to Giants Stadium in New Jersey because of damage to the Louisiana Superdome caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The game has already caused logistical nightmares for everyone involved, from the moment the Giants’ charter flight Saturday morning was diverted to Kansas City because of the blizzard slamming the Midwest. What they thought was only a temporary delay eventually forced them to stay overnight in Missouri.

It became chaotic when the NFL initially refused to change the original kickoff time of the game, which was scheduled for noon Central Time in Minneapolis. That forced the Giants to make plans to fly out early Sunday morning - - plans which would have gotten them to the Metrodome about two hours before kickoff.

Later on Saturday, though, Metrodome officials expressed their concerns to the NFL about the potentially unsafe amount of snow on their roof. The NFL then relented and rescheduled the game for Monday night.

That allowed the Giants to change their plans again and get a little extra sleep in Kansas City on Sunday morning . They didn’t get much, though, because around 7 a.m. CT, Hanlon said, there was a false fire alarm going off at their team hotel.
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