Metrodome Collapses Under Snow

Previously: The NFL is considering other sites for the Giants-Vikings game after the Metrodome’s inflated roof collapsed in a snowstorm.

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Metrodome officials told the league Sunday the roof wouldn’t be ready to play Monday or Tuesday, a delay that gives Vikings quarterback Brett Favre more time to heal his sprained shoulder and extend his NFL-record streak of 297 straight starts.

The game originally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon and already had been pushed back to Monday night because of the storm that dumped 17 inches of snow on Minneapolis.
No one was hurt, but the roof failure sent the league and both teams scrambling. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Sunday the league is “exploring alternatives,” possibly playing at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium or in another NFL dome.

TCF Bank Stadium opened on the Minnesota campus in 2009, and the Gophers have played two seasons there. It seats 50,000, down from the Metrodome’s capacity of 64,000.
The storm kept the Giants from flying to Minnesota on Saturday, forcing them to land in Kansas City, Mo., and stay there overnight.

The saga of the roof is the latest event in a trying season for the Vikings: the firing of coach Brad Childress; the investigation of Favre for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a Jets hostess 2008; the disappointing play of a 5-7 team that had Super Bowl aspirations.

“I think this is officially the craziest season ever; now the roof collapses at the metrodome,” Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said on Twitter. “Can’t wait to see what happens now. Let’s make it even crazier and just take the roof off and play outside.”

Tweeted punter Chris Kluwe: “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always tomorrow.”

Favre has barely practiced all week. He’s listed as questionable for the game after getting hit hard and slammed to the turf on his first pass of last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
“Joke goin round is Gods Tryin to preserve Bretts streak record,” receiver Bernard Berrian tweeted. “Lol!!”

Concerns about high winds for the crew clearing snow from the roof prompted the commission on Saturday to recommend to the NFL that the game be moved from Sunday to Monday night.
Two of the dome’s triangle-shaped panels were damaged and workers were still assessing the situation, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Executive Director Bill Lester said Sunday.

The roof is 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass that is supported by 20 90-horsepower fans. It weighs roughly 580,000 pounds and has failed three times previously.

Less than two months after it opened in 1981, a storm that dumped more than 10 inches of snow on the Twin Cities caused the roof to partially deflate. A bolt tore through the fabric allowing air to escape and the roof came down. It took four days to repair the roof and re-inflate it.

The only time before Sunday that a game has been postponed because of roof failure was April 14, 1983, when a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and California Angels had to be rescheduled.

On Sunday morning, the puffy white top that frames the east side of the downtown skyline was sunken toward the stadium bowl, as the NFL, Vikings and stadium officials held conference calls to discuss the situation.

The Giants clearly must really be tired of these trips to Minnesota by now. The Vikings and Giants are set to play for the ninth time in the last 10 regular seasons, a scheduling quirk that has slated seven of those meetings — this year would be three in a row — for Minnesota. The Vikings have beaten the Giants four straight times.

Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said on Twitter the team “monitored weather all week” and moved up the departure time by 3½ hours Saturday. That didn’t prove to be enough of a head start to make it to Minneapolis before the airport shut down all runways.

Last season, an approaching snowstorm in Baltimore prompted a Sunday game between the Ravens and Chicago Bears to be bumped back three hours, but such a switch in this television-driven league is rare.

The Vikings weren’t exactly enjoying a hassle-free weekend because they were home. Most players live in the suburbs near the team’s offices and practice facility, about a 20-minute drive from the Metrodome without heavy traffic or tough conditions. They still had to make it to the downtown hotel where they stay the night before games.

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie announced on Twitter shortly after 6 p.m. local time his plan to be cautious: “Heading 2 the hotel, giving myself a 2 hour window 2 make it n this weather.”

McKinnie checked in with an update a little later: “I made it 2 the hotel safely, it took us about 45 min, when its usually about 20 to 25! All good though.”