Falcons expect roof fixes ready for '18

FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, speaks with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank under the open roof, before an NFL football game between the Falcons and the Green Bay Packers in Atlanta. TheFalcons are expecting the retractable roof to be “fully operational” for the 2018 season and next year’s Super Bowl. Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, he expects fixes on the roof by the 2018 season “if not well before.” Problems kept the roof closed on the $1.5 billion stadium for most of the 2017 season. The unique roof, designed to open like a camera lens, was open only for the Falcons' first home regular-season game. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Falcons expect the retractable roof on Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be “fully operational” for the 2018 season and next year’s Super Bowl.

Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay told The Associated Press on Wednesday he expects the team to have more open-air home games in the 2018 season.

“The roof is being worked on as we speak and yes we expect the roof to be fully operational by football season, if not well before,” McKay said.

“Fully operational means you will see us go to much more of an open configuration as we designed at the beginning. When it’s ready to go, we’ll be open depending on weather.”

Problems kept the roof closed on the $1.5 billion stadium for most of the 2017 season.

The unique roof, designed to open like a camera lens, was open only for the Falcons’ first home regular-season game against Green Bay on Sept. 17. It was closed for all other NFL and college games, including the Peach Bowl, the Southeastern Conference championship game and the national championship game.

The stadium, also home to MLS’ Atlanta United, will be host to the 2019 Super Bowl.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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