Unfortunately for NFL fans out there the Miami Dolphins will not play their season opener at home on Sunday! Authorities will not permit the game since the Hurricane Irma now has the title of a category 5 storm. There was a conference call on Tuesday morning where NFL discussed contingency plans for this match, but no decisions were made during the call. Later that day the league announced that the Dolphins’ Week 1 game against the Buccaneers will not be played on Sunday in Miami!
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma now intensified to a category 5 storm with wind speeds reaching 175 mph. This storm poses a humongous threat to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, it will also hit Florida this weekend.
Evacuations have been ordered by the state officials in Miami-Dade County. ‘A wider evacuation order could be issued on Wednesday’ officials claim. For those uninformed, Florida has already declared a state of emergency.
When it comes to the contingency plans, we only know that the game will not take place on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium at 1 p.m. ET. The NFL could reschedule the match, but there are no official updates on that matter.
Besides that option, this duel could also be played at a different location which would be similar to what the Bills did when a winter storm in 2014 forced the team to play a game versus the Jets in Detroit instead of Buffalo a day later than originally planned.
The Dolphins had similar problems before, in 2005 they moved a game against the Chiefs to a Friday night in lieu of Sunday because of Hurricane Wilma. In 2004 the Dolphins moved a 1 p.m. Sunday match against the Steelers to 8:30 p.m. ET that night.
We still don’t know when or where this one will be played, but the league has to render a decision quickly. We expect the league officials to take some time and weigh in on those factors that will determine the decision. They have to think about an open stadium, travel and many other things. However, they will have to make a move soon.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington, both the Dolphins and Buccaneers are set to have byes on Week 11, so there is a high probability that they will play this game then.
On the other hand that means 16 consecutive games without a break for Miami and Tampa Bay which is not ideal. Of course, there is still a strong possibility that New Orleans or Philadelphia could be the hosts of the duel. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.