rating in two playoffin Diskussionen Allgemein über die Kryptowelt 17.10.2018 09:20
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Super Bowl 52 will be played comfortably under the translucent U.S. Bank Stadium roof on a dry artificial turf [url=http://www.authenticskansascitychiefs.com]Chiefs Elite Jerseys[/url] , leaving the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles without worries of traction trouble or kick-altering winds.
That doesn’t mean the workers in charge of preparing a surface that’s championship-sufficient were free from challenges.
The host Minnesota Vikings came close to reaching the big game, for one.
When they beat the New Orleans Saints with that last-play touchdown pass in the divisional round on Jan. 14, the NFL would have normally already been in takeover mode of the stadium by then. The victory by the Philadelphia Eagles over the Atlanta Falcons that weekend was a big help for the league’s exhaustive operations; it sent the Vikings on the road to face the Eagles for the NFC title rather than hosting another postseason game at their not-yet-2-year-old home.
”That would’ve really pushed us back and crunched the time,” said Ed Mangan, the NFL’s field director. ”We’ve had a few other teams in the past that got close, so you always start out with a `what if.’ You have a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C, and you have a backup plan for each one of those. So you’re always prepared for it.”
Then there’s the winter weather, which has its own share of the spotlight this week next to the Patriots and Eagles. Just because the game itself will be played in climate-controlled conditions doesn’t mean the crews are always comfortable, with some outdoor work to be done in the single-digit temperatures. The downtown setting, with a major hospital, several churches and plenty of apartment buildings within a few blocks of the front doors, added some urban-specific security hurdles.
Commuting to the site last week, too, could have been made trickier by a storm that dumped more than a foot of snow on the region. But the City of Minneapolis and Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplows produced a championship-caliber performance.
”We’ve never been held up getting anywhere,” said Mangan, whose team is also responsible for the practice facilities at suburban Vikings headquarters in Eden Prairie (for the Patriots) and at the University of Minnesota a short ride from downtown (for the Eagles).
So are all the preparations finally caught up?
The answer is yes, according to Eric Finkelstein, the NFL’s senior director of events.
”We’ve been talking to the team and were for multiple months, and we were able to delay the things that we knew we could afford to delay and get a jump on the stuff that we knew we had to get done, even during the playoff game run,” Finkelstein said.
Vikings fans are still decompressing from the loss to the Eagles that dashed their dream of an unprecedented Super Bowl on home turf. So having the home stadium as the backdrop for the big game could be a painful sight either on television or in person. The good news for them and their healing process is that almost all of the team’s logos will be invisible, covered by NFL and Super Bowl signage. The six-panel purple end zones have been pulled off, replaced with Patriots and Eagles paint.
”We want this to look like the Super Bowl and know that you’re here,” Finkelstein said.
The field itself remains the domain of the indefatigable George Toma [url=http://www.authenticslosangelesrams.com]Rams Elite Jerseys[/url] , the NFL’s grounds crew master who is working his 52nd Super Bowl. Yes, that’s all of them. He’ll turn 89 on Friday, and his pride in the job is just as high as it was five decades ago.
”The cheapest insurance for an athlete from preschool all the way up to professional is a good, safe playing field,” Toma said, ”and that’s what we try to do. For the people in the stands and the people on TV, we try to give them a field of beauty and then some.”
There’s less pressure, per se, this week than four years ago in New Jersey during the NFL’s first outdoor Super Bowl in a northern site. There’s still plenty to do.
More than 1,000 performers have been on the field at a time rehearsing for the halftime show. So Toma and his crew use a magnetic rake of sorts to comb the field for any stray nuts, bolts or random wardrobe pieces that might have popped off. They use a stamping tool to gauge the stiffness of the turf every 8 feet or so, to make sure there are no dangerous soft spots. The sand-rubber mixture that serves as the artificial sod underneath the fake grass is supposed to be 1+ inches thick.
Having worked two years for the Vikings at their practice facility and served as the spring training groundskeeper for the Minnesota Twins at their baseball facility in Fort Myers, Florida, Toma has a special affinity for this Super Bowl being held in Minnesota.
”I’ve been through a lot of stadiums worldwide, but in my book I love this stadium,” Toma said. ”This is the best stadium I’ve been in. Why? Everything’s right here for you. We come out that tunnel, and we’re only 100 feet to the playing field for our equipment and for our paint and everything. Not only that, but the people who run this stadium are outstanding, and then some.”
MINNESOTA (14-3) vs. PHILADELPHIA (14-3)
Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE – Vikings by 3 1/2
RECORD VS. SPREAD – Minnesota 12-4-1, Philadelphia 11-5-1
SERIES RECORD – Tied 13-13
LAST MEETING – Eagles beat Vikings 21-10, Oct. 23, 2016
LAST WEEK – Vikings beat Saints 29-24; Eagles beat Falcons 15-10
AP PRO32 RANKING – Vikings No. 2, Eagles No. 5
VIKINGS OFFENSE – OVERALL (11) [url=http://www.authenticlosangeleschargers.com]Chargers Elite Jerseys[/url] , RUSH (7), PASS (11).
VIKINGS DEFENSE – OVERALL (1), RUSH (2), PASS (2).
EAGLES OFFENSE – OVERALL (7), RUSH (3), PASS (13).
EAGLES DEFENSE – OVERALL (4), RUSH (1), PASS (17).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Eagles are 3-0 vs. Vikings in playoffs. … Vikings seeking first trip to Super Bowl in 41 years. Eagles seeking first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years. Neither team has won a Super Bowl. … Vikings are 6-16 on road in playoffs. … Vikings were 6-2 on road this season. … Minnesota led NFL in fewest yards allowed per game (275.9) for first time since 1993 and also allowed fewest points (15.8). … Vikings held opponents to 25.2 percent conversion on third downs, best mark in league. … Offense converted 43.5 percent on third down, third in league. … QB Case Keenum was second in NFL with 67.6 completion percentage. … RB Latavius Murray had 842 yards rushing and eight TDs. RB Jerick McKinnon had 570 yards rushing and three TDs. … WR Adam Thielen was fifth in NFL with 1,276 yards receiving and eighth with 91 receptions. … DE Everson Griffen tied for fourth in league with career-high 13 sacks. … LB Eric Kendricks has led team in tackles each of his first three seasons. His brother, Mychal, is LB for Philadelphia. … All-Pro S Harrison Smith tied career high with five picks. … WR Stefon Diggs had 137 yards receiving vs. Saints last week, including 61-yard game-winning reception on final play. … Eagles have reached conference championship six times since 2000, most appearances by NFC team in that span. … Eagles in NFC championship game for first time since losing 32-25 at Arizona on Jan. 18, 2009. … Eagles host NFC title game for first time since beating Atlanta 27-10 on Jan. 23, 2005. … Philadelphia is 14-7 at home in playoffs, including 5-3 at Linc. … Eagles are 14-3 at home under coach Doug Pederson, best home record in NFL over last two seasons. … Philly has outscored opponents 244-117 at home this season. … QB Nick Foles set franchise playoff record with 76.7 completion percentage vs. Falcons. … Foles has completed 46 of 63 (73 percent) for 441 yards, two TDs, no picks and 102.7 passer rating in two playoff starts. … RB LeGarrette Blount scored ninth career postseason rushing TD last week. … RB Jay Ajayi had 98 scrimmage yards (54 rushing, 44 receiving) vs. Atlanta. … K Jake Elliott’s 53-yard field goal vs. Falcons last week was longest in team’s postseason history. Elliott is 6 of 7 from 50 or more yards, but he’s 39 of 43 on extra points and missed one against Atlanta.
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