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Packers, Raiders playing preseason game on 80-yard field

Preseason football is almost entirely meaningless. Many teams elect against playing their starters in multiple games, and all teams roll out vanilla offensive and defensive concepts that are far from an accurate reflection of the schemes they will employ during the regular season. Exhibition games are used primarily to decide backup roles and the final few players deserving of spots on the 53-man roster, but even those decisions could be made by virtue of training camp and practice alone.

Considering all the pitfalls of preseason play, it’s easy to assume the NFL would rather cancel a game scheduled to be played on a defective field than go ahead and play it with adjusted end-zone parameters. But that assumption was proven wrong on Thursday night, when the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers kicked off in Winnipeg, Canada on an 80-yard field due to a hole officials discovered in one of the end zones.

New end zones have been set up between the 10-yard line and goal line on both sides of the field to avoid players stepping in the hole, and league officials further prioritized player safety by eliminating kickoffs – where dangerous hits could have come in extra supply due to the shortened field.

Neither Oakland nor Green Bay is playing their full set of starters on Thursday night. The Raiders never planned on playing any of their front-line players, but the Packers pulled many impact players, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams, once they learned the field was compromised.