Sunday-evening’s game between the Chiefs and Buccaneers was originally scheduled in Tampa. It remains scheduled for Tampa, despite the impending arrival of Hurricane Ian.
“We don’t discuss potential sitesa league spokesperson told the Associated Press’s Rob Maaddi. “We continue to monitor the storm and are in constant communication with the clubs and local authorities. The decision could not be made until Friday.”
It’s fine not to make a decision until Friday, but at least they’re considering alternate locations. Unless, of course, they’ve already made up their mind about what the alternate location would be, leaving them with nothing to discuss.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the Tampa Sports Authority told Rick Stroud about the Tampa Bay Times that Raymond James Stadium “will be used by emergency services for personnel and equipment during the hurricane and will not be used as a public shelter.” Stroud added that, for broadcast purposes, the league “may decide to bow to another game” Football on Sunday evening or even move the Bucs-Chiefs game to Monday night.”
ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine reported that, if Raymond James Stadium cannot be used, “the NFL is unlikely to use Miami as the new game site.” The NFL, according to Laine, “don’t want to risk taking state resources to host a game in Miami that could be put to better use in Tampa in the wake of the hurricane.” If the game moves, it would end up “in a neutral Midwestern location, like Minneapolis.”
The Vikings take on the Saints in London on Sunday morning. Which also means the Superdome is available.
Via Jeff Duncan from the New Orleans Times Picayunea Superdome spokesperson said the Saints’ home stadium is available to host the game if needed.
It would be a big advantage for the Chiefs if the game is moved out of Tampa, as the Bucs would lose their home crowd. If moved to Minnesota, passionate Chiefs fans would be about 6.5 hours away by car. Vikings fans would also be tempted to attend to: (1) see Tom Brady play in person; and (2) rooting loudly at him, as the Bucs and Vikings could compete for places in the playoff tree.
Same for New Orleans. Saints fans certainly hate Brady and the Bucs more than enough to fill the room and harass the man who broke two tablets there nine days ago.
For now, the NFL is waiting. Much of what happens on Sunday will depend on how bad the storm eventually gets.
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