The Tennessee Titans’ pregame festivities will no longer feature 30-foot-high bursts of flames.
After an incident in September where a pyrotechnic device caught fire near fans and players, the Titans stopped using the effects, and the NFL has temporarily banned the practice league-wide. The incident has also inspired the state Fire Marshall’s Office to change its policy on pyro.
Both are responding to a near-disaster: a stream of fire shooting from a fuel tank right next to the stands in Nissan Stadium, burning live on national TV.
“It could have been potentially tragic, and we’re really glad that didn’t happen,” said Kevin Walters, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
He says an independent review of the event has concluded the device, called the Hurricane Giant Flame System, was “unreasonably unsafe.”
“There was no proper heat barrier, there was no hose protection, there was no shutoff — the list is fairly substantial.”
In response, Tennessee is changing its regulations for such devices. Until now, operators have been required to verify their machines meet a national standard, but no local or state inspection has been required. Walters says going forward, there will have to be some proof the device itself has been examined by either an engineer or a third party lab.
The Tennessee Titans say they have no plans to bring back the flame bursts. Their pre-game show will lean on “alternatives that pose no risk.”
The NFL, meanwhile, says the pyro ban remains in effect.