The NFL might move the 2017 season opener game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins due to Hurricane Irma. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. However, as Irma has strengthened to a Category 4 storm already, there is an increased possibility that it would affect parts of Florida as early as Friday.
According to ESPN, the game might be moved to Thursday or Friday or to another site. The NFL, for now, is continuously monitoring the activity of Hurricane Irma. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott already declared a state of emergency in Florida as early as Monday to give the local units an advanced time to prepare resources.
As for the Bucs and Dolphins, the teams are focusing on their practice as they have no control over any changes in relation to the weather. They are going to wait for advice regarding the game and just be ready, according to the coaches.
Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter, though, hopes to have more information by Wednesday, and that the league would make the changes with the players and their families in mind. Michael Signora, vice president of football communications for the NFL, promised that they will keep close communication with the Buccaneers and Dolphins as well as local officials.
The players also know of the discussions regarding the possibility of moving the game to an earlier schedule or to a new site. Miami receiver Kenny Stills said, per Fox News, all they can do is be prepared. “If they tell us to play tomorrow, we play tomorrow. I’m good with whatever they got,” he said.
“If they tell us to play tomorrow, we play tomorrow. I’m good with whatever they got,” he said.
Hurricane Irma strengthened on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Several islands in the Caribbean have been issued hurricane warnings, including the Leeward Islands, the Greater Antilles, and Puerto Rico. The National Hurricane Center has warned the residents to be prepared for devastating winds, storm surges, and flash floods as well as rainfall of up to 12 inches. It has an increased chance of making a landfall in the United States, although it is still uncertain which areas would be hit. As reported by the Washington Post, Florida and the Gulf Coast are at risk. Authorities expect to be able to improve predictions over the coming days.
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