The Miami Dolphins are scheduled to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 1 opening All-Florida showdown this Sunday. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma, which was upgraded to a Category 5 storm Tuesday morning, could potentially be hitting South Florida Saturday night or Sunday morning. With concerns about Floridians in the area, the need for police and traffic control for a game at the stadium, the possible use of the stadium for relief efforts, and weather during the game itself, the NFL and both teams are working on a plan to potentially move or reschedule the contest.
League officials were expected to hold a conference call this morning to receive updates on the storm, as well as begin deciding on a possible plan if the game is changed. Both the Dolphins and Buccaneers have a Week 11 bye this year, which could make delaying the game feasible, though both clubs have requested not to use that as the solution due to the schedule then consisting of 16 straight games.
The league could consider moving the game to Thursday or Friday to try to beat the weather, with Thursday more likely as the initial rain could be hitting as early as Friday. They could also look to move the game to a neutral site, trying to stay away from South Florida for the weekend.
Whatever the decision is, it is expected to be made today. Logistics of moving the teams, referees, and broadcast crew, as well as allowing fans time to travel and plan for attendance all need as much lead time as possible. South Florida would also like to be able to plan where they will need police presence if the Hurricane does hit, and moving the game early can allow for that planning time.
Whatever the case, this is just a game at the end of the day, and the league will do whatever it needs to reschedule or move it. The most important part is that the people of South Florida remain safe and prepare for what could be a major storm.