MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The looming threat of Hurricane Irma is causing the NFL to take hard look at Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m., that doesn’t seem a realistic option anymore as Irma is forecast to hit the Florida panhandle over the weekend.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the game will not be played on Sunday in Miami.
The options now are for the game to be moved to a neutral site or be played in Miami at a later date, which would be November 19th when both teams have a scheduled bye week.
“In the interest of public safety in light of the current state of emergency, the NFL, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, has decided that playing an NFL game in South Florida this week is not appropriate,” the NFL said in a statement.
Currently Irma is an extremely strong Category 5 hurricane but even if it weakens substantially there is no way a game could have been played locally if there is anything close to Tropical Storm force winds impacting the area.
Tuesday morning the NFL held a conference call that likely included league and team officials to discuss options for the Week 1 matchup between Miami and Tampa Bay.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, no decision was made on the call.
Dolphins head coach Adam Gase told the media around noon on Tuesday that he had no updates.
While neutral sites have been discussed (there are open stadiums in Jacksonville, Gainesville, Atlanta and New Orleans on Sunday) the option of moving the game up to Thursday or Friday has also been floated around.
“We’re practicing like we’re playing a game sometime, somewhere this week,” said Gase. “Whatever they tell us to do, we’ll do.”
The newly renovated Hard Rock Stadium can withstand up to a Category 4 hurricane but workers will probably need some time to prepare the venue for the storm, which could have impacted the option of playing the game earlier in the week.
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