The NFL announced on Tuesday that Week 1’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins will not be played in Miami. While no official announcement has been made, it seems likely that the two will play in Week 11, which was originally a scheduled bye week for both. On the surface, it makes some sense. But digging a little deeper, as Tampa defensive Chris Baker did, the idea is rather flawed.
Player safety 16 straight weeks 🤔🤔😳😳
— Chris Baker (@cbakerswaggy) September 5, 2017
Actually, Baker may not even be telling the full story.
A season ago, the Dolphins were a Wild Card team while the Buccaneers just missed the playoffs. It’s entirely possible that one or both teams could find themselves playing on Wild Card Weekend in January. In which case, they would be playing anywhere between 17 and 19 straight weeks with no bye.
Realistically, the game has to be moved from Miami. There’s a tremendous storm heading right for South Florida and it’s simply not safe to play an NFL game there. That’s a given.
But essentially any team playing on the road in Week 1 could open up its stadium to the Buccaneers and Dolphins if there are no other plans in play. Now, that may be easier said than done. But it’s been done by the NFL before.
The then San Diego Chargers played a home game in Tempe, AZ when wildfires were ravaging Southern California in 2003. The New Orleans Saints played a home game at the old Giants Stadium in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ford Field in Detroit has hosted “home” games for both the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills in this decade. Some of these games have been moved to Monday or even Tuesday. But even that seems preferable to going at least 16 and potentially 19 straight weeks without a bye.
If nothing else, as Baker detailed, it’s hard for a league so willing to schedule 16 straight weeks to claim that it cares about player safety.