The retractable roof should never be open again during a Colts game. The open roof hurt the home team on at least three plays this afternoon. Each play took place early in the game while the sun was shining directly on the field.
1. Silva is back deep to recieve the punt. He is forced to shield his eyes from the incredibly bright sun. He takes his eye off the ball and muffs the punt before recovering his own mistake.
2. The very next play Manning drops back and fires a bomb into the sunlight and light wind. The pass is off-target and Garcon fails to make the adjustment. The sun and wind made the play tougher for both Manning and Garcon. It should have been an easy touchdown.
3. Later in the game Manning throws for Clark in the endzone. Clark loses the ball in the sunlight. He looks utterly confused as to where the ball could be, and can’t make the adjustment.
I’m a little confused, too. The Colts played in the RCA Dome for over 20 years. Opposing fans mocked us for playing in a vacuum-sealed 72 degrees and alway-sunny environment. Colts fans ignored the criticism because the team won an overwhelming majority of its home games. Manning thrived in the controlled conditions, and that’s all that mattered. Then it came time to build the new stadium. Someone, I don’t know who, thought it would be neat if the buiding featured a $100 million retractable roof. I think this was a huge mistake.
Look, the roof is cool. I’ll be the first to admit it. But the city and state couldn’t afford it. And more important, to me at least, are the difficult playing conditions it creates. Today there was a decent wind, as evidenced by the championship banners blowing constantly to the north. The sunlight was only on the field for about a quarter and a half, but in that short time it made an impact. Keep in mind that it isn’t a natural light the Colts are dealing with. It isn’t as if the entire field is bathed in light. The shadow/light effect has always had a negative effect on athletic competition. Today it was as if the endless fires of hell were located directly above the ten yard line on the north end of the stadium. The rest of the field was in shadow. Unacceptable.
Here’s the deal: If Polian, Caldwell, and Manning are fine with the open roof then so be it. I strongly doubt they are. I want to know who is making the “open or closed” call. It smacks of politics, to me. We spent a ton of money on the roof. What if word got out that the Colts wanted it closed each week? Imagine the firestorm from the public. 10% unemployment and we just wasted $100 million on a roof we don’t even want? Well, I’m sorry. It nearly cost them the game today.
And it wasn’t just today. I thought the roof was a clear factor in the Jacksonville game, as well. Clark lost a deep ball in the sun, and Manning seemed to be struggling with it at times. After today, it is time to start asking pointed questions. If the Colts agree that the sunlight is having an impact then we need to close the damn roof and keep it closed.