The buck stops with the NFL.

That was the bottom-line declaration from Troy Vincent, the league’s chief executive for game operations, in a memo sent to team owners and presidents Monday which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports in the wake of the issues with the playing surface on Sunday night that forced the cancellation of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

“While the HOF field situation underscored the challenges in working with third parties, ultimately I am responsible for ensuring the field is of the highest standard,” Vincent wrote.

The NFL’s preseason opener, pitting the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts, was canceled less than two hours before kickoff when the field was deemed unsafe due to ineffective painting of a logo, numbers and other markers. The NFL is facing immense criticism for outsourcing, through the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the field management for the game, which ultimately and shamefully for the image-battered league, were not up to NFL standards.

In the memo, Vincent indicated a key issue with the timeline that contributed to the situation: the decking that covered the field for the previous night’s enshrinement ceremony wasn’t fully removed until approximately 2:45 p.m. ET on Sunday — work that was to be completed by 8 a.m. The delay threw off the timetable for preparing the field, which included the touch-up painting that left portions of field unsafe due to adhesion from the paint.

Other takeaways that Vincent outlined to teams:

— The independent field tester noted in his report that the “painting was fairly heavy with some crusting on the surface.” The tester maintained that the crusting would ultimately break up after players ran across those portions of the field.

— Attempts by the groundscrew to wash away crusted paint led to other issues, including uneven elevation after portions of the rubber infill were moved to other portions of the field.

Vincent promised that the league and NFL Players Association’s joint field safety committee will seek improved field testing methods. Additionally, he noted that the football operations department will engage field managers to fine-tune best practices for painting, decking and the impact of non-football events on the field.

“These will be particularly helpful as we evaluate stadiums for future international games,” Vincent noted in what may have been an ominous warning.

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Follow NFL columnist Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell

PHOTOS: Hall of Fame Game canceled