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.