The Miami Dolphins are scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday during the NFL’s regular season opening weekend. Miami could also be getting hit by a Category 4 hurricane as Hurricane Irma continues to churn in the Atlantic Ocean, with a strong possibility that it will be reaching South Florida late Saturday or early Sunday, with most of the forecast models having the storm turn north toward Florida after a strike on Cuba.
The Dolphins have been watching the storm, and, along with the Buccaneers and the league, could look to change the date of the game or the location if conditions do not warrant playing in Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Both the Dolphins and Buccaneers have Week 11 byes, which could allow the league to move their game to November 19 if needed. They could also consider moving the game to either Tampa, or possibly somewhere neutral like Orlando. The league could also look to play the game earlier this week in an effort to still get the game played in Miami.
After Monday’s practice, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase was asked about the possibility of moving the game. “They tell us when to play and we show up,” he told the media.
“They tell us whatever they tell us to do and we’re just going to do (it),” he continued. “I mean I just go with the flow.”
In 1992, the Dolphins were scheduled to play the New England Patriots in Week 1 of that season. The game ended up being postponed until October 18, the previously scheduled bye week for both clubs, when Hurricane Andrew hit the area. At the time, the concerns were that the stadium would be needed for hurricane relief efforts, as well cut down on possible traffic issues and police requirements for security at the game.
Last year, the league made preparations to move the Dolphins game against the Tennessee Titans game in Week 5 from Miami to Nashville when Hurricane Matthew threatened the area. The league also considered moving the Carolina Panthers’ home Monday Night Football game against the Buccaneers that week from Charlotte.