ATLANTA — The roof will be open! Sort of!
NFL official have announced that the roof of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be open prior to Super Bowl LIII. Subfreezing temperatures and winds earlier in the week gave way to warmer weather by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolled around, allowing the roof to be open for pregame ceremonies and a flyover. The roof will be closed during pregame warmups and the game itself, as temperatures aren’t expected to hit the magical 60-degree mark necessary to keep the roof open for the whole game.
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof is an architectural marvel and optical illusion all at once. Made up of eight 500-ton petals, the roof appears to twist open. In truth, the petals each slide on straight, 720-foot-long tracks that extend across the roof.
Designed by architectural firm HOK Inc. and based on the style of the “oculus” atop the Roman Pantheon, the roof takes eight minutes to open and seven minutes to close. The roof is the centerpiece of the $1.6 billion stadium. The complexity of its construction dominated the 39-month build time of MBS, which opened in August 2017. (Here’s the full story on its construction.)
The stadium ran tests of the roof during Super Bowl week, which included several warm, sunny days:
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) February 1, 2019
Falcons stadium officials had indicated earlier in the week that they hoped the roof would be open, but the ultimate decision would be up to the NFL. In most instances, the home team notifies the league whether the roof will be open 90 minutes prior to halftime; since the Falcons aren’t playing in this Super Bowl, the NFL holds that authority. NFL gameday rules also permit a closed roof to open at halftime, and an open roof to close during the game for certain inclement events.
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