NFL Makes Shocking Announcement In Line With Hurricane Irma Barreling Towards Florida

With Hurricane Irma barreling towards Florida this weekend, the game between the Dolphins and Buccaneers will not be played Sunday afternoon in Miami, the NFL announced Tuesday.

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Irma, now a Category 5 hurricane with winds increasing to 185 miles per hour, according to NOAA and Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft, is expected to make landfall in South Florida this weekend.

The NFL has not determined when or where the game between the Bucs and Dolphins will be played. There are currently two options being considered: Sunday at a neutral site, or playing the game later in the season in Miami.

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The Dolphins and Buccaneers both have a bye Week 11 this season. Moving the game to Nov. 19 would require both teams to play 16 straight games this season.

The NFL has relocated games to neutral sites in the past (notably the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets playing in Detroit in 2014 after a huge snowstorm in upstate New York.)

There is also precedent for the NFL postponing the game until later in the season. In 2008, after Hurricane Ike damaged the stadium in Houston, the NFL re-worked the schedule giving the Ravens and Texans a Week 2 bye and played in the matchup in Week 9.

In a statement confirming the decision on Tuesday the NFL cited public safety as the primary factor in moving Sunday’s game.
“In the interest of public safety in light of the current state of emergency, the NFL, in consultation with the 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 statement read.

The league added an update on the decision about when and where the game will take place would be decided “as soon as possible.”