The fans were going wild five hours before Sunday’s Rams-Carolina Panthers game, even though the Coliseum was essentially empty.
These were not human fans, of course. They were large, circular, electric ones, 60 in all, and they were used in an effort to blow-dry the fresh coat of paint that was applied on the turf during the changeover from Saturday’s USC-Oregon game to Sunday’s NFL game.
About 200 stadium employees worked all night hauling away 14 tons of trash from Saturday’s 4 p.m. game, cleaning inside and outside the bowl, cleaning the parking lots and restocking concession stands for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game.
That part of the task went smoothly and was aided by the extra hour afforded by the switch to Pacific Standard Time overnight.
But complicating matters on the field was the heavy moisture created by the fog that rolled in during Saturday’s USC game and remained until about 9 a.m. Sunday.
“In re-painting the end zones, you’re putting wet paint on wet grass, so we couldn’t go as heavy as we wanted to with the paint,” said Joe Furin, Coliseum general manager. “Getting it done wasn’t the challenge. It was Mother Nature working against us a little bit to keep the conditions wet.”
Normally, two or three coats of paint are used to cover the end zones and the wider hash marks from the college game and to paint the NFL logo at midfield. Conditions allowed for only one coat of paint to be used Sunday.
As a result, the Pac-12 logos at the 25-yard lines and the hash marks from Saturday’s game were still visible on Sunday, and “USC” was still somewhat visible under the “Los Angeles” and “Rams” in each end zone.
“Sixty fans helped, but there’s only so much you can do when the grass is wet to begin with,” Furin said. “In the best-case scenario, the first coat dries and you hit it again. The first coat never dried, so we’re not gonna paint it again at 11 a.m.”
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