NFL not currently discussing alternate sites for Chiefs-Buccaneers (but there are at least two)
Sunday night’s game between the Chiefs and Buccaneers was originally scheduled for Tampa. It continues to be scheduled for Tampa, despite the impending arrival of Hurricane Ian.
“We are not discussing any potential sites,” a league spokesperson told Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press. “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.”
It’s fine to not make a decision until Friday, but they are surely at least considering alternative locations. Unless, of course, they’ve already made the decision on what the alternative location would be, which would leave them with nothing to discuss.
On Monday, a Tampa Sports Authority spokesperson told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times that Raymond James Stadium “will be used by emergency services for personnel and equipment staging during the hurricane and not utilized as a public shelter.” Stroud added that, for broadcast purposes, the league “may decide to flex another game for Sunday Night Football or even move the Bucs-Chiefs game to Monday night.”
Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reported that, if Raymond James Stadium can’t be utilized, “the NFL is unlikely to use Miami as the new game site.” The NFL, per Laine, “does not want to risk taking up state resources to host a game in Miami that could be better utilized in Tampa in the aftermath of the hurricane.” If the game is moved, it would end up “at a neutral site in the Midwest, such as Minneapolis.”
The Vikings face the Saints in London on Sunday morning. Which also means that the Superdome is available.
Via Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a Superdome spokesperson said that the Saints’ home stadium is available to host the game, if need be.
It would be a major advantage for the Chiefs if the game is moved out of Tampa, since the Bucs would lose their home crowd. If it’s moved to Minnesota, passionate Chiefs fans would be roughly 6.5 hours away by car. Vikings fans would also be tempted to attend in order to: (1) see Tom Brady play in person; and (2) root loudly against him, since the Bucs and Vikings could be competing for spots on the playoff tree.
Ditto for New Orleans. Saints fans surely hate Brady and the Bucs more than enough to fill the venue and harass the man who smashed two tablets there nine days ago.
For now, the NFL continues to wait. Much of what happens on Sunday depends on how bad the storm ends up being.