Tonight, the Atlanta Falcons will host the New Orleans Saints to kick off Week 14. Hopefully, four days off was enough for the crew that works the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to remedy the mistake they’d made in advance of the Falcons’ Week 13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
The day before that 14-9 defeat, the Falcons’ house played host to the SEC title game, in which the Georgia Bulldogs demolished the Auburn Tigers, 28-7.
With two games at different levels with different field markings played with so little time in between, the grounds crew had their work cut out for them.
For the most part, the speedy turnover went swimmingly.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) December 3, 2017
But their was one error that was repeated 800 times, as that’s how many hashmarks reside on an NFL field—the rows of markings were placed seven inches too close together.
“It turns out that the hashmarks were painted too close together, they’re about seven inches from how they should be,” reporter Pam Oliver relayed from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium sidelines during the contest. “Both teams are aware of it.”
But did it affect the game’s outcome? The contest all but ended when Falcons kicker Matt Bryant missed a field from the left painted hashmark with just under five minutes left (the Vikings would run the rest of the time out on their next possession). Could the the slight change in the design he’s used to kicking from have altered his kick? Probably not. But it was Bryant’s first miss from between 40 and 49 yards of the season.