If the Buccaneers and Dolphins end up playing their Week 1 game on Sunday, they won’t be in Miami.
On Tuesday, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the NFL decided that the Buccaneers-Dolphins game won’t be held in Miami on Sunday due to Hurricane Irma. So that leaves the league with two options: Either play the game at a neutral location this weekend or postpone it.
Here’s the league’s statement:
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 not be played in Miami on Sunday, the NFL announced today.
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 league will continue to examine other options, including playing the game this Sunday at a neutral site or in Miami later this season, and will provide an update on that decision as soon as possible.
Since the Buccaneers and the Dolphins happen to share the same bye week (Week 11), the teams could simply decide to make up the game on Nov. 19. But as Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler mentioned on Tuesday, that’s not an option the Dolphins would prefer due to the fact that they’d then be forced to play 16 straight games without a week off.
I’d imagine the Buccaneers feel the same way.
Even if the NFL opts to move the game to a neutral location this weekend, the Dolphins will still be screwed. They’re already sacrificing one of their home games to host the Saints in London in October, so they’re now looking at the possibility of losing two home games this season.
Obviously, all of this is secondary to the fact that a hurricane is heading for Florida. That’s why the NFL’s decision to cancel the game in Miami on Sunday is a no-brainer. They really didn’t have another option. At this point, only bad options exist. And with Sunday just five days away, they’ll need to pick the next best bad option in a hurry.