It’s been exactly six months since the Broncos defeated the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, which is quite a long time for the NFL to prepare for Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game. Lest you doubt the the league’s incompetence, though, the annual preseason-opening snoozefest was canceled due to poor field conditions … even though the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium field is made of artificial turf. Apparently, the Hall of Fame grounds crew used the wrong paint when marking the field, resulting in a concrete-like playing surface. The game was called off about one hour before kickoff.
Even for the notoriously inept NFL, this mistake seems almost too ridiculous to believe. How do you mess up something as simple and routine as field painting? In fact, it’s so preposterous that the only reasonable explanation is that somebody sabotaged the field so as to prevent the Hall of Fame Game from being played. But who? And why? Herewith, we present five potential culprits.
1. Jordan Rodgers
After a lifetime of being known as Aaron Rodgers’s younger, less-skilled brother, Jordan Rodgers finally made a name for himself this summer by winning a particularly zesty season of The Bachelorette. But with football season approaching, Jordan’s reign as the Most Relevant Rodgers Brother was always going to be short-lived, new SEC Network gig notwithstanding. Could he have sabotaged the Benson Stadium field to postpone Aaron’s preseason debut, thereby prolonging his moment of glory? If his Bachelorette machinations are any indication, we would be fools to think otherwise.
2. Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker
On Saturday night, Brett Favre took a break from shooting Wrangler commercials and wearing U-cut jeans to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Given his propensity for unretiring, is it crazy to think that the enshrinement ceremony rekindled the ol’ gunslinger’s desire to play professional football? I mean, six years is enough time to recover from this hit, right?
In short, it’s entirely possible that Favre requested Mike McCarthy’s permission to suit up against the Colts — and who’s to say he didn’t tell the Packers coach he was going to get under center whether or not he got the go-ahead? It was supposed to be his weekend, dammit!
A Favre return would have left the Hall of Fame in a bind, though, because of the five-year waiting period required for potential enshrinees. As such, President Baker might have swapped in a defective batch of paint to prevent Favre from taking a snap, which would have invalidated his shiny new bronze bust.
3. Faith Hill
Hill was surely dismayed with the Hall of Fame’s decision to host a Tim McGraw concert on Friday night. If she thought being replaced by Carrie Underwood on the Sunday Night Football theme song was bad, there’s no telling how she handled losing out to her ex-husband for the honor of performing at the NFL’s premier preseason concert. That’s the sort of ignominy that warrants a serious, tastefully impressionistic retaliation.
4. Chuck Pagano
If the rumors about Eddie Lacy’s offseason P90X regimen are true, he’s going to be a problem for opposing defenses this fall. Accordingly, it stands to reason that Pagano wanted to keep Indy’s defenders healthy and thus doused the Benson Stadium field with a tar-paint hybrid, thereby saving them from receiving any violent stiff-arms from Shredded Eddie Lacy.
5. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
UNC boasts one of the most unique nicknames in all of sports. There’s simply too much brand value at stake to let the Packers and the Colts infringe on the “Tar Heels” moniker. After losing Steph Curry to Under Armour, Nike isn’t playing around, either. So, after hearing about the tarlike conditions, Michael Jordan himself probably made the call to Canton, demanding that the game not be played. How else to ensure the Jordan Brand’s monopoly on Tar Heels–themed apparel and footwear?