Vegas field coming up a little short

April 22, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

There is less to the Canadian Football League field in Las Vegas than meets the eye -- by 10 yards, if you're measuring.

The Silver Bowl, home of the expansion Las Vegas Posse, is 110 yards from goal line to goal line. That's regulation. It's those 15-yard end zones that come up short of the specified 20-yard end zones you'll see in the other league stadiums.

"It doesn't fit," Posse coach Ron Meyer said yesterday of the traditional CFL end zone, "so we're allowed to modify it."

According to Meyer, those modifications call for 10 yards of the playing surface to extend beyond the north wall at the open end of the 32,000-seat, horseshoe stadium. Meyer says play in the end zone still can be seen by everyone in the stadium.

Don Matthews, coach of the CFL Colts, said he doesn't see it as a home-field advantage for the Posse. But he said it will make a difference in the kicking game, where a single point (the rouge) is awarded for a missed field goal or punt that travels out of the end zone, or can't be returned.

"It is a little different," Matthews said. "And it may affect the kicking game. But it's still the same for both teams. We won't need to make any strategy adjustment."

Commissioner Larry Smith writes off the oddity to CFL economics. "In Vegas, the structural changes required to make the end zone long enough would mean tearing down a building," he said. "We want to ensure the integrity of the playing field. In hockey, not all rinks are the same."

Beat the clock

The Shreveport Pirates are racing the clock to finish renovations on Independence Stadium for their June 24 exhibition opener against the Colts.

The price tag on the renovations is $3 million. Owner Bernie Glieberman, who sold the Ottawa Roughriders and took over Shreveport's expansion team last February, isn't picking up the tab. He got a $2.5 million commitment from Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and another $500,000 from the city.

Eye on Boston

Fred Smerlas, a Pro Bowl nose tackle with the Buffalo Bills during a 14-year NFL career, was in Baltimore this week for the CFL caravan. Turns out he's interested in forming an ownership group to seek a franchise in Boston, where he lives.

For what it's worth, the contract of Calgary Stampeders quarterback Doug Flutie is up after the 1994 season. The former Boston College hero would be a natural attraction for an expansion team in New England.

Two-minute drill

Joe Lewin, general manager at Channel 2, said he could conclude negotiations to broadcast a minimum of five Colts game as early as Tuesday. Might he go for more than five? "We'll take a look at it as the season goes on," he said. . . . Shreveport, awarded its franchise one day after Baltimore, has sold 8,000 season tickets, compared with the Colts' 20,000-plus.

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