Hurricane Irma is set to hit Florida, so Sunday’s Buccaneers-Dolphins game will not be played as originally scheduled.
The looming threat of Hurricane Irma is set to alter the schedule of sporting events in the affected areas this weekend, as much as that matters in the big picture. Sunday afternoon’s NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins in Miami is in the proverbial (if not literal) eye of the storm, so some sort of movement of that game seemed certain.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and others, the Buccaneers-Dolphins game will not be played in Miami on Sunday. Playing the game at a neutral site on Sunday, or postponing it to later in the season, were both conveyed as options immediately.
But ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington quickly pointed to a likely, and frankly pretty convenient, option for postponing the game to later in the season.
UPDATE: The NFL confirmed in a statement that the game will be moved to Week 11.
"Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on South Florida, the Miami Dolphins home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium, will instead be played there in Week 11 on Sunday, November 19, the NFL announced today.Week 11 was previously an open date for both clubs.The NFL announced yesterday that in the interest of public safety in light of the continuing state of emergency, the league, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, would not play an NFL game in South Florida this week.Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the impacted area."
— end of update —-
As it turns out, in a coincidence of scheduling, the Buccaneers and Dolphins both have a bye in Week 11. The season-long effects for both teams of being off in Week 1 and then playing 16 straight weeks would have to consider by the league office. Some NFL stadiums not in Florida and/or in the path of the storm but still close geographically happen to be available this week with their typical tenants playing the road.
Putting Buccaneers-Dolphins at a neutral site seems viable, and the decision to take the game out of Miami five days out should keep most of those options open. Fans that are going to have to flee the Miami area anyway should have their tickets honored by the relocated site, and a close new location should make travel to the game a bit easier for those that want to. Of course, the Dolphins would like to know where they’re going too, and make arrangements to get there ahead of the storm.