Officials made a surprise announcement when they said the roof inside the new $1.5 Mercedes-Benz Stadium could be open for Sunday night's home opener against the Green Bay Packers, a move sure to please Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn.
In a change from the original plan, officials now say the roof will remain open, provided the weather holds up. Although the city of Atlanta is expected to experience the effects of Hurricane Irma over the next 24 hours, the AccuWeather forecast for Sunday is cloudy with temperatures dropping to 59 degrees in the evening.
During the stadium construction process, Quinn talked about whether he preferred the roof to be opened or closed.
"I prefer a roof opened," Quinn told ESPN. "You know those days where you say, 'Man, this is a day for some football?' If it's the idealistic setting or it's ideal football weather where you feel the crispness, I prefer that roof to be open. If it's lightning and it's raining, I'd say, 'You know what? Let's go inside."
It’s been 25 years since the Falcons played an open-air game in Atlanta, during their days at Fulton County Stadium. That last outdoor game was a 26-13 win by Jerry Glanville's Falcons over Chuck Knox's Seattle Seahawks.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium officials said work to fully automate the roof will continue throughout the fall but has progressed.
Falcons president Rich McKay said opening the roof is a 12-minute process that has to be decided at least 90 minutes prior to the game. Kickoff for Sunday's night Falcons-Packers matchup is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (ET).