Due to the fires in and around the San Diego area, tomorrow’s Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins will be moved from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, is being used as an evacuation site where residents around the San Diego area whose homes have been affected by the fires can receive first aid, food and water. Some of the flames are within two to three miles of the stadium.
“I heard there are a few thousand people at Qualcomm taking shelter, people who lost their homes or are at risk of being trapped in the fire,” San Diego resident and UCSD student Mike Palazzolo said. “Initially, because of the game tomorrow, they were going to have the people move from Qualcomm, but the mayor of San Diego asked if they could push the game back to Tuesday. Apparently they decided to move the game to Arizona instead.”
San Diego mayor Dick Murphy asked for the game to be moved or postponed, and Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith said the game shouldn’t be played in San Diego. The game was going to be a homecoming for Dolphin linebacker Junior Seau, who spent 13 years as a Charger before being traded to Miami in the offseason.
Sun Devil Stadium is the home of the Arizona Cardinals and seats over 70,000 fans. The Cardinals played a game at home on Sunday, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 16-13 in overtime.
“The field looks better; it’s definitely torn up in the middle of the field between the hashes, so we’re going to have to re-sod after tomorrow’s game,” Athletic Facility Maintenance Student Assistant Shaun Scott said. “It’s the normal wear and tear you’d expect from an NFL game – a lot of running up the middle of the field.”
Even though the game was moved away from San Diego, it will still be considered a Chargers home game.
“Right now we have guys mapping out a Chargers end zone, so this will be considered the Chargers’ home field,” Scott said. “The head groundskeeper is spraying green on the field, then we are going to map out the end zones, then tomorrow we will do all the painting. It’s basically routine game day work, except we are doing the painting on game day.”
Admission to the game will be free, and the Cardinals will be taking donations for the San Diego wildfire relief effort. However, there will be assigned seating for the game.
“I don’t expect many people coming from San Diego, but I expect a lot of college students,” Scott said.
On October 22,1989, the NFL moved a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots from Candlestick Park in San Francisco to Stanford Stadium after the Loma Prieta earthquake. This will be the fourth Monday Night Football game in Sun Devil Stadium history, the prior of which was a 1999 game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers.
“This is something credited to the Cardinals organization; by helping out the NFL it’ll make them look good for their 2008 or 2009 Super Bowl bid,” Scott said.
Rumors about the game being moved were heard by the workers at Sun Devil Stadium all day long, but they didn’t receive the official word until 11 p.m. Eastern time.
“Evidently, there have been rumors going out all day. The CSC Security guys were talking about it, and then I heard about it for the first time after the Cardinals-49ers game, when we were going to break down the handicapped seating. The boss said, ‘Don’t do that, cuz we have to wait and hear if the Chargers -Dolphins game will be postponed or moved to Tempe.’ We got the official word at 9 Arizona time,” Scott said.