The 2017 NFL regular season kicks off this week but the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be unable to play their season opener because of Hurricane Irma, which is threatening to make landfall in South Florida.
After contemplating other options like moving the game to another location, the NFL decided on Tuesday to postpone the game instead. The postponement affects the sportsbook odds for the Dolphins-Bucs game since it won’t be played on Sunday, but fans can still bet on the game on the rescheduled date.
In a statement, the NFL said the game was postponed in the interest of public safety, due to the hurricane, which has been upgraded to a category 5 storm. The NFL said it made the decision after consulting with public officials as well as both NFL clubs.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced the game will be played in week 11, when both teams were scheduled to have a bye week.
The cancellation of Sunday’s game and the announcement that the game will be played in week 11 means that both teams will play 16 consecutive games without a week off, which has expected upset some of the players who would have preferred to play the game this week even if it meant playing at a neutral location.
The Miami Herald noted that the Dolphins have been forced to move games in the past due to hurricanes, and sometimes the games have been moved to a different day of the week.
In 2004, the Dolphins played a game on Saturday because of Hurricane Ivan, and a year later, they were forced to play the Kansas City Chiefs on a Friday because of Hurricane Wilma. The Herald also noted that the police might not be available to provide the necessary security needed if the game had been moved to Thursday.
Dolphins and Buccaneers players and fans are also wondering why the league didn’t try to accommodate them by shuffling their schedule around to still allow them to have bye weeks.
In 2008, the league reworked the Houston Texans schedule after Hurricane Ike. A game between the Texans and Baltimore Ravens that was supposed to take place in week 2 was rescheduled for week 9, when the Ravens had a bye week.
The NFL then moved the Texans home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, which was to be played on November 9 to October 26, when both teams were originally scheduled to have byes.
The bottom line is the Ravens and Texans both got early bye weeks that season as a result of the rescheduling.
The Dolphins aren’t the only ones affected by the hurricane this weekend. The Miami Hurricanes had planned on playing their game on Saturday against Arkansas State. But on Wednesday, the school announced the game has been cancelled.
It is unclear if the game will be moved to another date or if both teams will not play their full schedule.
The University of Florida and Florida State also have games scheduled for this weekend. The Seminoles host Louisiana-Monroe at 7 PM., while the Gators host Northern Colorado at 7:30 PM. ET. Both schools are well north of Irma’s projected path, but officials said they will continue monitoring the storm.
By Raster: Ixnay Vector: Beao (w:File:Wikiproject NFL.png) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons