BOSTON (CBS) — Despite what you may have heard, the Patriots and Raiders are probably still going to play at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in November.
There was rampant confusion surrounding the stadium following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake that hit Central Mexico. It was initially reported that the stadium sustained significant damage after the 7.1 earthquake rocked the country, with one tweet showing what appeared to be a fracture on the outside.
But as it turns out, that is not damage at all. Yahoo! Sports reports that the crack has always been there and is meant for situations like Tuesday’s earthquake:
However, what looks like a crack is simply part of the structure of the stadium. It is a junta constructiva, as many Spanish-speaking journalists put it, a constructive joint. It is also referred to as an expansion joint.
The stadium is built with such a design to avoid collapse during an earthquake or landslide. The expansion joints absorb the shock, vibrations, and expansion and contraction of the stadium’s materials during quakes.
While Tuesday night’s Copa MX match between Club America and Cruz Azul was postponed, the stadium sustained no major damage in Tuesday’s earthquake, according to officials.
NFL Executive Vice President of International and Events Mark Waller spoke to reporters on a conference call on Wednesday, and said the stadium is in good shape following the earthquake:
“We have a full review going on [Wednesday] by the stadium. They’ve already announced the cancelling of their soccer game that was due to be played there tonight; however, the initial information from that review is that the stadium is remarkably well and in good shape, and that is a testament to the construction and the safety devices that were put in place when that stadium was built 50 years go. I’d also like to report that the social media chatter [Tuesday] showing a gap in the stadium was not caused by the earthquake. The stadium was actually built with four large gaps in it to allow the stadium to move in the event of an earthquake, so that is a good example of social media gone wrong. The initial reports are good, but our commitment to ownership is to give a full report back by tomorrow night – Thursday night – and that will cover the stadium, the hotel facilities that we will be using, and also the airport, which as some of you know was briefly closed [Tuesday] but is now open and, I believe, almost fully operational.”
Azteca will host the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders on November 19, the second straight year the stadium will hosted an NFL game. There has been no statement by the NFL, Patriots or Raiders yet regarding the game following Tuesday’s earthquake.
Tuesday’s quake was the deadliest to hit Mexico in decades, with officials confirming 225 people were killed as the search for survivors continues.