In the hours before the Arizona Cardinals’ first game of the season, the air quality was at a level in which the opener against the San Francisco 49ers could take place.
The air quality index reading (AQI) was at 171 at noon in Santa Clara, which falls into the “unhealthy” range, according to AirNow.gov. The NFL will allow practices or games to be played if the AQI remains below 200.
That AQI of 171 was down a tick from the hours of 9, 10 and 11 a.m. After being at 171 at 8 a.m., it rose to 172 over the next three hours before returning.
The game remained on schedule to be played, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Although the air quality is at a level where a game could be played, some players’ availability may be impacted, including 49ers running back Tevin Coleman. Schefter reported his status for Week 1 was “uncertain” due to a combination of pre-existing health issues and the poor air quality.
AirNow projects the air quality index to borderline the level at which the game would not be able to be played. It is projected to get to 199.
IQAir projects more moderate air quality the rest of the day than Friday, when the air quality index jumped from 154 at 9 a.m. to 241 by 6 p.m.
At noon on Friday, the level was 190, according to IQAir.
AQI readings have now spiked into the “unhealthy” range, above 150, three times in the past month, topping out at 166 on Aug. 19 and then breaking the 200 mark Friday.
The air quality in the area has been poor due to wildfires in California.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium. Listen live at 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.