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Click here for a 42-second time-lapse video of the snow removal effort at TCF Bank Stadium for tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Bears and Vikings. The video is oddly compelling. Go ahead, click on it (It’s a Facebook post, so you may have to be logged in to FB to view it). You’ll watch it over and over and…
There’s snow falling at this hour in Minneapolis and the current temperature is 22 degrees. This is part of a larger storm system also expected to affect the Chicago area later on tonight. The Minneapolis forecast says “snow may be heavy at times”. There’s still a chance that the field will be, as Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said yesterday, “unplayable”.
Meanwhile, via TwitPic from BearsInsider, here’s what TCF Bank Stadium looked like at 4:45 p.m. CST, about 25 minutes before this post was made:
Doesn’t this figure? After the University of Minnesota, hundreds of shovelers and the NFL spent an entire week getting TCF Bank Stadium ready for tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Bears and Vikings, here’s what the National Weather Service forecasts for Minneapolis today and tonight:
Today: Snow likely, possibly mixed with freezing drizzle before noon, then snow. High near 25. East southeast wind between 11 and 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. Total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
Tonight: Snow, mainly before midnight. Low around 23. East southeast wind at 11 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Here’s a more specific map of what the Minneapolis area might expect:
So, somewhere around of 5-6 inches of snow should be blanketing the area around TCF Bank Stadium during the day and evening hours. The west wind noted in the forecast will be blowing directly through the open end of the stadium where the scoreboard is located. That’ll make things difficult not only for the team heading toward that end zone, but for them to keep the field clear — the Bears already had a tough time in those conditions last Sunday against the Patriots, not to mention the difficulty for for fans to get to the stadium in tough road conditions.
It’ll be an upset if either team scores more than 14 points. The Bears have not won in Minnesota since 2006.
The Minnesota Vikings got a tour of the field at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, and, according to Chicago Breaking Sports, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe declared the field “unplayable” and “concrete” in a series of posts on his Twitter account.
After 11 tweets about the field conditions and replies to various Twitter followers, the NFL apparently muzzled Kluwe:
If they keep the field heated, as a couple of the tweets noted, the snow that’s supposed to fall during the game may help cushion falls, to some extent. The Soldier Field surface that was coated with snow — or, for that matter, the field at Lambeau Field in Green Bay or Gillette Stadium in Foxboro or any other outdoor field in a cold weather city — can’t be much less hard than the FieldTurf with its padding underneath.
With snow and cold conditions and players somewhat skittish about playing on the field, tomorrow’s game could be fairly low-scoring.
Late Friday afternoon, the NFL confirmed that TCF Bank Stadium will be ready, and so the Bears and Vikings will play outdoors in conditions even colder than the game in Chicago last Sunday — temperatures in the teens with a chance of light snow.
It will be the first NFL game outdoors in Minnesota in exactly 29 years — on Dec. 20, 1981, the Vikings played the final game at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota against the Kansas City Chiefs:
Kansas City quarterback Steve Fuller completed 12 of 16 passes for 145 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Stan Rome early in the third quarter. The teams traded field goals in the first half before Fuller guided Kansas City on a 63-yard drive that resulted in the game’s lone touchdown and decisive score.
The game featured four future Pro Football Hall of Famers, including both head coaches (Minnesota’s Bud Grant and Kansas City’s Marv Levy) and two Minnesota offensive linemen (tackle Ron Yary and center Jim Langer). The contest was Yary’s last in his 14-year Viking career.
Fuller, of course, later played for the Bears and was the backup to Jim McMahon on the 1985 Super Bowl team. The last game the Bears played an outdoor game in Minnesota was on October 4, 1981; the Vikings defeated the Bears that day, 24-21.
There are still concerns about the game, including the possibility of injury on a frozen field and the fact that the stadium seats 14,000 fewer than the Metrodome, leading to the possibility of ticketholders being turned away.
We’ll keep this StoryStream™ updated throughout the weekend if anything changes.
University of Minnesota associate athletic director Scott Ellison said the playing surface was in “better shape” than it was for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers’ last home game, Nov. 27 against Iowa.
The snow-removal effort was assisted by the Snow Dragon, a biodiesel-powered mobile snow melter that can melt 30 tons of snow per hour. According to a news release passed along by an alert reader:
The Snow Dragon takes much less energy than hauling. One hour of snow melting is equivalent to 20 dump trucks hauling two loads of snow per hour. The mobile snow melter has a smaller carbon footprint, is safer than having trucks hauling snow through traffic and created just 70 decibels of noise (less than a motorcycle, power saw or lawn mower).
The Snow Dragon has been in Minneapolis since Thursday afternoon. Video from the live stream provided by gophersports.com shows (at 4:10 p.m. CST Friday) the field nearly cleared and snow nearly out of the stands, though work continues.
As of now, the game is a go for Minneapolis; the game-time weather forecast is for a chance of snow with temperatures in the teens.
Those of us “of a certain age” remember when the NFL Today on CBS was introduced by Brent Musburger saying, “You are looking LIVE” at stadiums all across the NFL. This, in an era when satellite links were still somewhat new in television.
Today, that’s commonplace, as is streaming video on the web. So, it’s my pleasure to say that “you are looking live” at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis via this link on gophersports.com, the website of University of Minnesota athletics.
At the time of this posting — a little after 11:30 a.m. CST Friday — it looks like they’ve cleared the entire field and are making significant progress in getting the snow out of the stands. Earlier reports said that they would start to try to thaw the field today and keep it under a heated tarp until Monday. That should help with criticism that the field will be too hard, like concrete, and could cause injuries to players.
The tundra may not be frozen, but it looks like the Bears and Vikings will be playing in temperatures in the teens on Monday. Just to make the scene appropriate, it may be snowing during the game, too.
Today, the Minnesota Vikings sent out this press release regarding procedures for the game which — as of this writing — is still scheduled to be played outdoors at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
If you’re a ticket holder, get there early and be ready to run to your seat, because it’s going to be like the Wrigley Field bleachers — first come, first served:
All ticket holders will use their Vikings-Bears game tickets for Mall of America Field at the Metrodome to enter TCF Bank Stadium and seating will be general admission by lower and upper levels.
The release goes on to tell ticketholders when they can line up and when the gates will open and what access lower and upper level ticket holders will have, and partial refunds that might apply to various ticket holders depending on the value of their ticket.
This is a really bad idea. The Vikings are asking fans to come out and stand in line for an hour or more, on a day when temperatures will be in the teens with a chance of snow, and they’re not even assured of getting in? This has the possibility of creating some really ugly scenes, especially because:
In the event that some ticket holders are turned away on game night due to capacity, only the original ticket account owners will receive a full refund.
That creates the possibility that someone might buy a ticket from StubHub, get turned away, and have no recourse to get a refund.
The Vikings and the University of Minnesota have agreed no alcoholic beverages will be served. No outside food or beverages will be allowed into the stadium.
Why don’t they just admit that this is a bad idea and play the game in New Orleans, Atlanta or Phoenix? What if there’s a significant snowfall in Minneapolis that day and no one can get to the stadium? The NFL ought to make up its mind now, instead of waiting until the weekend.
As reported in our previous update to this StoryStream™, TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis may not be suitable for play next Monday night for a variety of reasons. The NFL has not yet certified the stadium and may be forced to move the game out of Minnesota.
Where could it go? In an earlier update this morning here, we noted that the Indianapolis Colts have offered Lucas Oil Stadium in that city for the game. However, the Vikings would likely have to play that game in front of a full house of Bears fans, because Indianapolis is only a three-hour drive from Chicago; the same thing would probably happen if they played the game in Detroit, as the Vikings and Giants did this past Monday.
So where could the teams play at a somewhat neutral site that’s far enough from Chicago that thousands of Bears fans couldn’t get there easily? It would have to be a warm-weather city or dome; it wouldn’t necessarily have to be a place where no game is being played Sunday, although that would help with preparations.
Using those as the criteria, there aren’t that many choices. On Sunday, New Orleans Saints and Superdome officials offered the Superdome as an alternative; the Saints play in Baltimore this week. The Atlanta Falcons, who play in the Georgia Dome, also are on the road this week; that venue stands empty this weekend. Another possibility would be University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona; there’s an RV show there on Sunday, but it could certainly be cleared out in time for football. All three stadiums seat about 75,000 people.
Or how about this off-the-wall solution? The Vikings have been rumored to be moving to Los Angeles after their lease expires in the Metrodome after 2011. Why not play in the Los Angeles Coliseum or the Rose Bowl as a test run?
It seems more and more certain that the Bears and Vikings won’t be playing in Minneapolis; the NFL will have to come up with an answer soon, so the teams, broadcasters and fans can make plans.
As different reports trickle in from all over, the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears game seems less likely to have a venue in TCF Bank Stadium. The Minnesota's Vikings organization has furiously attempted to end their 50th anniversary season in a local setting, but they may have started too late.
The unsuitabliity of TCF Bank Stadium seems to be increasingly apparent, even if snow removal efforts are successful, which is by no means certain. Chicago Breaking Sports reports that many volunteers abandoned the line, when it moved too slow at 6:00 A.M. today. Conflicting stories regarding how much, if anything, volunteers would be paid, are indicative of the disorganization that has permeated of every aspect this project.
That Chicago Breaking Sports link also indicates that the Chicago Bears management are considering filing a protest with the league over the frozen condition of this field. It's a legitimate concern. Even if the Bears were not on a playoff run, this situation puts the health and safety of their players at an unacceptable risk level. It's also a concern shared by Vikings players and the NFLPA.
There are questions regarding concessions, beer sales, seating capacity, field safety, even running water is at question. It's past time to continue to indulge the Vikings ownership in this fiasco. The NFL has a responsibility to players and fans that supersedes the wishes of Zygi Wilf.
What if they can’t get TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis ready for the Bears and Vikings Monday night? What if they can’t get water running in the restrooms? — if the pipes freeze, you can’t expect 50,000+ people to just “hold it” all night. What if the ground is too frozen to play on? What if there’s more snow than the two feet already on the ground and they can’t clear the field up in time to make it playable? How are they going to accomodate 54,000 Vikings season ticket holders in a stadium that seats 50,000? (Not to mention 9,000 or more who have already purchased single-game tickets to the game.)
ESPN.com is reporting that the Indianapolis Colts have offered the use of Lucas Oil Stadium in that city for the game, if the outdoor stadium in Minneapolis isn’t ready in time or some of the other issues noted above come into play. The article says that the situation is still “fluid”, and here’s another issue:
If the game must be moved from Minnesota, the Indianapolis Colts have offered to host the game inside their domed Lucas Oil Stadium, team sources told Clayton on Wednesday. However, the sources said the Vikings are wary of that option because they fear Chicago fans will buy out Indy’s stadium.
Chicago, of course, is only three hours’ drive from Indianapolis and that’s a legitimate concern for Vikings officials, who have already seen one home game played in Detroit. We’ll have further information whenever it’s available.
Somewhat lost in all the uproar and controversy surrounding the move of the Bears/Vikings game next Monday night to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium is the fact that the college stadium seats about 13,000 fewer than the Metrodome, which has been sold out for this game for quite some time.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports this afternoon that university officials are confident they can get the stadium ready:
“I would say there will be a game here Monday night,” said Scott Ellision, the university’s associate athletic director.
Ellison said “the NFL is on board” with the condition of the field, which is still frozen and blanketed by snow.
The same article says that the Vikings and the university are “in talks” to add temporary seating to the west end zone of the stadium. It doesn’t seem possible that they could add enough seats to accomodate all the ticketholders for the game, but the Vikings already refunded ticketholders (or credited “season ticket owners”, as they termed them, for 2011) for the game moved to Detroit this past week.
But what if they can’t get enough seats to accomodate everyone? Who decides who gets left out? That’s a mess the Vikings will have to figure out. All we know for sure right now is that the Bears and Vikings will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CST on Monday — somewhere.
Are you thinking of doing some volunteer work over the holidays? Do you feel like you'd like to 'give something back to the community' ?
Well if you're in the Minneapolis area, and you have time and willingness to serve your fellow man, head down to TCF Bank Stadium, where the Minnesota Vikings are asking for volunteers for snow removal. And if you pass any homeless people along the way, why not bring them with? After all, the university has even offered to provide shovels ,if necessary.
And if you think there's no reward for charity, think again.
You can take comfort in knowing that you've saved Zygi Wilf and the Vikings organization a lot of money. TCF Bank Stadium holds 50,000, so they'll only have to refund the cost of 13,000 tickets. If they were holding this game in a venue that was prepared and suited for their purposes, they'd have had to refund all 63,000 tickets sold for this game.
But what of those 50,000 lucky ticketholders who still get to attend? What sort of holiday memories will they be able to recall afterwards?
The concession stands weren't built to withstand temperatures below 30 degrees. There are no beer taps. So expect a lot of flasks of hard alcohol to be smuggled in underneath the layers of clothing everyone will be wearing. I'm sure that will lead to lots of friendly exchanges among the chilled, grumpy patrons of this event who thought they were paying for an experience quite different from the one they'll receive.
And if I were the a member of the NFLPA, or a Chicago Bears team making a playoff run, I'd certainly be curious as to how the frozen playing field will effect player safety.
The Minnesota Vikings are asking for quite a bit from the community, in order to present a sporting event they still might not be able to pull off. A sporting event they would have moved, if they weren't being greedy.
Tonight, the Minnesota Vikings issued a formal statement saying they are committed to playing the game against the Bears in front of their fans in Minneapolis; this is totally understandable considering that they have already lost one home game and didn’t want to lose a second one — and also, if they were going to do the same thing they did this past week and play in Detroit, the stadium would no doubt be filled with Bears fans who could make the easy drive from Chicago; that would make it virtually a Bears home game.
Now, all the Vikings and the TCF Bank Stadium officials need to do is:
We are committed to playing Monday night’s game in Minnesota in front of our fans. With Mall of America Field at the Metrodome now unavailable, we have turned our full attention to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. We have been in close contact with the University and the NFL office since last weekend. Preparation of the stadium is fully underway and University officials have told us they will make every reasonable effort to ensure the stadium will be ready for Monday night. The league office is assisting our staff and the University to ensure the stadium is safe for our fans and meets the primary technical requirements for an NFL game. We appreciate the tremendous cooperation of the University of Minnesota and look forward to completing preparations for the game and turning this into a memorable experience for the State of Minnesota and Vikings fans.
More information will follow for those who hold tickets to the Vikings-Bears game.
Unlike last week’s game, which was shown on Fox affiliates originally committed to show the game, there’s no issue with TV, as this was already scheduled to be ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast; it will still air on that channel at 7:30 p.m. CST.
A report from the Fox Television affiliate in Minneapolis says that the Bears/Vikings game scheduled for next Monday night, Dec. 20 at the Metrodome has officially been scheduled to be played outdoors at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
No official announcement has come from the NFL or the Vikings yet, but the Fox-9 report says that the repairs to the Metrodome roof won’t be done in time for the game, so the Vikings will play outdoors at home for the first time since 1981.
There is still a lot of work to be done at TCF Bank Stadium to prepare for the game; four-foot drifts of snow have to be removed, and the stadium, which was winterized after the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ last home game last month, needs to be brought up to speed with concession stands and other facilities made ready for weather the stadium was not designed for.
We’ll update this StoryStream™ when the official announcement is made, as well as have information on how the Vikings will handle ticketing; TCF Bank Stadium seats about 13,000 fewer than the Metrodome.
The Minnesota Vikings have released a statement this afternoon which seems to indicate that they are leaning toward playing the Bears/Vikings game next Monday, Dec. 20, at the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, TCF Bank Stadium. However, they do leave open the possibility that the Metrodome will be ready:
The Minnesota Vikings are working diligently with the University of Minnesota and the NFL on preparing TCF Bank Stadium in the event that Mall of America Field at the Metrodome will not be ready for Monday night’s Vikings-Bears game. Their cooperation has been tremendous.
The Vikings are committed to ensuring a home game in Minnesota for our fans. We will continue to update fans and media as the process moves forward, but at this time no further information is available.
So, it would seem the location will be either the Metrodome or TCF Bank Stadium — not Detroit; the Vikings, having already lost one home game, don’t want to lose another. We’ll continue to update this StoryStream™; there may be an official announcement this evening.
Efforts to repair the torn Metrodome roof, which collapsed Sunday under the weight of heavy snow, continued Monday with workers arriving from upstate New York, where they know about snow, to assess the damage. It’s still uncertain late Monday night where the Bears vs. Vikings game, scheduled for next Monday night, Dec. 20, will be played.
The Sun-Times reported late Monday afternoon that the teams hoped to know by late tonight, but that decision has not yet been made. A final decision would have to be made fairly soon, so that both teams can prepare for either an indoor game at the Metrodome or an outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Vikings, who lost to the Giants 21-3 in their game Monday night that was moved to Ford Field in Detroit, will not move another game. Vikings officials would not likely allow another home game to be moved out of Minnesota. The Bears, on the other hand, probably have had enough of playing in snow and cold after their pathetic loss to the Patriots on Sunday.
The Bears do have this advantage, no matter where the game is played: they’ll know by game time whether they can win the NFC North with a victory. If the Giants beat the Packers next Sunday, the Bears would clinch the division title — and likely a first-round bye — by defeating the Vikings Monday night.
At that point, it probably wouldn’t matter much to the Bears where they’re playing. If you can’t get fired up for that scenario, you shouldn’t be playing football. We hope to have a decision on the location of the game by sometime Tuesday.
You've certainly seen the video of the Metrodome roof collapse many times by now; if you haven't, or even if you have, go look. It's worth looking again... but not before you read this interesting twist.
The next game scheduled at the Metrodome is a week from Monday, Dec. 20, when the Bears are scheduled to play the Vikings. Can the Metrodome staff repair the roof by then? According to this post at SBNation.com, the Chicago Tribune reported that:
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Roy Terwilliger says the stadium’s crew should be able to clean up the snow and debris, replaced the three damaged panels, and restore the roof in time.
What if they can't? They could, according to this SBNation.com post, play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. The stadium is open-air -- hailing back to the "frozen tundra" days of Vikings games at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn., now the site of the Mall of America -- and seats 50,805. That's about 13,000 fewer people than the Metrodome (officially called, ironically, Mall of America Stadium) seats, so they'd have to make some adjustments, but apparently they actually considered using it for the Giants/Vikings game on Monday. The only reason they couldn't was that university officials told them they needed two days to get the stadium ready. And if not, officials in New Orleans have offered the Superdome as an alternative.
As for outdoor football, why not? The Bears and Vikings, outdoors in Minneapolis in late December? The average low on Dec. 20 in Minneapolis is nine above zero Fahrenheit. Go for it.
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