An NFL official told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the league is “not discussing” any potential alternate sites for Sunday’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs game.
Hurricane Ian is churning toward Florida’s Gulf Coast and may strengthen to a devastating Category 4 storm before making landfall somewhere south of the Tampa Bay region later Wednesday.
A league spokesperson told the AP, “We continue to monitor the storm and are in constant communication with the clubs and local authorities. Decision could be made as late as Friday.”
Regarding moving #Buccaneers – #Chiefs due to hurricane, NFL said: “We are not discussing any potential sites. We continue to monitor the storm and are in constant communication with the clubs and local authorities. Decision could be made as late as Friday.”
— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) September 27, 2022
Even though the storm’s path has shifted south and is no longer tracking directly toward the Tampa Bay area, it will still have a widespread impact in the state. Raymond James Stadium is being used during the hurricane for emergency services personnel and equipment. The Buccaneers moved their practices to Miami for the week with the hurricane bearing down.
“It’s going to be historic,” National Weather Service meteorologist Kole Fehling told the Orlando Sentinel.
It might be difficult to hold the game in Tampa Bay as scheduled Sunday, and frankly, it might be bad optics for the league to play there so soon after the storm’s nearby impact.
A Pro Football Talk report parsed the NFL’s comments and questioned whether the league may have already chosen an alternate site, because making a decision Friday leaves little time for preparation. ESPN reported that Minneapolis could be a possible host site for the game. And the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that a Caesars Superdome official confirmed the stadium is available for the game, if needed.
It’s also possible the game could be moved to Monday night.