Weather Delays Kickoff of “Monday Night Football” at $5B Indoor Stadium

Raiders coach Jon Gruden was not impressed with the setup at SoFi Stadium

A view of the Las Vegas Raiders playing the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Weather delays affected the game at the indoor stadium.
A view of the Las Vegas Raiders playing the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty

The kickoff of Monday Night Football between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in LA was delayed due to the weather — even though the recently opened $5 billion pigskin palace has a roof.

Lightning in the area resulted in the Raiders-Chargers game being delayed by 35 minutes because SoFi Stadium was designed with an odd architectural feature that left openings in the upper deck to let the breeze in, making it unsafe to play in extreme weather in the eyes of NFL officials.

Following his team falling behind 21-0 before ultimately losing 28-14, Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden said the delayed start of the game had nothing to do with the final margin. “It didn’t, it didn’t have anything to do with it,” he told reporters.

But, the 58-year-old coach did seem fairly perplexed about why the 70,000-seat indoor stadium wasn’t built to withstand severe weather. “No, I’m not an engineer, I have no idea. I have never heard that. I thought it was a joke,” Gruden said. “But it affected both teams. I’ve never had an indoor stadium with a lightning delay. This was a bizarre night for all of us.”

Gruden also took issue with the locker rooms at SoFi, which is in its second year of operation. “The locker room here is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen. I mean you can’t see anybody. It’s like a maze. So whoever contorted this visiting locker room, I’d like to meet this guy, see what his idea was,” he said.

His complaints about SoFi may be legit, but Gruden’s main beef should be with his team being a complete no-show in the first of MNF and falling into a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. Held to a single first down and 51 net yards in the first half, the Raiders made adjustments at halftime but weren’t able to preserve their undefeated record and are now 3-1 on the season, tied with the Chargers and Denver Broncos atop the AFC West. The Raiders’ loss on Monday means the Arizona Cardinals are the NFL’s lone undefeated team after four weeks.

“We cannot come out and take that many punches in the first round,” Gruden said. “We found a way to make it a football game and give ourselves a chance, but it’s just too hard in this league against good teams.”

Despite his team’s record, the jury is still out about whether the Raiders are one of those good teams.

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