Sunday, December 12, 2010

Metrodome roof collapse

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants will play Monday night in Detroit after the Metrodome's inflated roof collapsed in a snowstorm.

The delay has given Vikings quarterback Brett Favre more time to heal his sprained right shoulder and see if he can extend his NFL-record streak of 297 straight games started.

Metrodome officials told the league the roof wouldn't be ready in time to play Monday or Tuesday. The league had discussions with Detroit and Indianapolis and briefly considered the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium before deciding to hold the game at Ford Field at 7:20 p.m.

The game originally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon and already had been pushed back to Monday night because of the storm that dumped 17 inches of snow on Minneapolis.

No one was hurt, but the roof collapse sent the league and both teams scrambling.

The Giants' plane was diverted to Kansas City on Saturday, and the team initially planned to leave early Sunday morning and arrive in the Twin Cities in time to play. But the roof collapsed overnight, the fourth time in the building's 29-year history that has happened.

University of Minnesota officials told the NFL that TCF Bank Stadium was shut down for the winter and would take several days to prepare for another game. Removing all the snow, figuring out how to cram 64,000 Metrodome fans into a 50,000-seat stadium, and the fact that the Giants did not bring any cold-weather gear with them from New York for what would have been a brutally frigid night game all combined to make that site problematic.

The New Orleans Saints and Colts also said they were willing to help.

"It's Detroit. Goodcall. Makes sense," Colts owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter.

The Vikings are refunding the cost of the tickets for the game for any fans who can't make it to Detroit. Those that do will be given priority seating along the 50-yard line at Ford Field and the Lions will distribute free general admission tickets starting at 9 a.m.