NFL Reveals Hurricane Contingency Plan to Move Tampa Bay Bucs Home Game
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to host the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for Sunday Night Football. But the NFL has a contingency plan to move the game to Minneapolis if they need an alternate site because of possible displacement from Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian ravished Southwest Florida when it reached landfall on Wednesday. Over 2.5 million Florida residents are without power, including approximately 500K residents in Tampa and Pinellas County.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor advised residents to shelter in place. The next 24 hours are crucial while authorities assess the widespread damage across the state.
Tampa’s airport is currently closed, but set to reopen on Friday.
At this point, a professional football game is the last thing on the mind of local officials. But the NFL has a “show must go on” mentality, which is why they enacted a contingency plan on Wednesday.
The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to play the New Orleans Saints in London, England for the first London game this season. Their home stadium is available, which is why the NFL selected U.S. Bank Stadium as an alternative location for the matchup between the Bucs and the Chiefs.
As of Thursday morning, the Sunday Night Football game between the Bucs and Chiefs is still planned to play out in Tampa.
This is only a contingency, but we will remain nimble and adaptable,” said NFL vice president Jeff Miller in an official statement.
An official decision will be made by Friday, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
“We could make decisions later in the week,” said McCarthy.
Bucs, Chiefs Ready to Play in Tampa or Minneapolis
At the start of last season, the NFL moved a Week 1 matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers because of an incoming hurricane. The Saints’ home game was moved to Jacksonville, Florida.
The Buccaneers relocated to Miami to practice this week for their upcoming matchup against the Chiefs.
We can’t control the outside forces,” Tampa head coach Todd Bowles told ESPN. “Our thoughts are with the city of Tampa right now, but where we have to play. Hopefully it is Tampa and everything is fine, that means we’re not damaged too much. If we have to go play elsewhere, we just have to focus and lock in. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us, you know, so we’ve got to be ready to play.”
The Chiefs have contingency travels plans for Minneapolis, if the game gets relocated.
“We’ll get ourselves ready for that,” said Kansas City head coach Andy Reid. “When the league announces it, then we’ll go ahead and move forward in that direction. That could be in Tampa, could be there in Minny. My heart goes out to the people of Tampa.”
Both the Bucs (2-1) and Chiefs (2-1) are coming off losses in Week 3. The Bucs opened as +3 home underdogs in Week 4. The line has since moved in their favor, with early money coming in on the Bucs. You can currently back the Bucs at +1 at most online sportsbooks. The game is a pick’em at the Circa Sportsbook in downtown Las Vegas.
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