Hurricane Ida already forced the cancellation of the New Orleans Saints final preseason game and led to the team moving its practices to Dallas. With the full extent of the devastation in the region still unknown, there’s a chance the Week 1 opener at Caesars Superdome could be moved.
The Category 4 storm left much of New Orleans without power as of Monday morning and there is devastating damage in the region. While the Saints do have time before they must return for their home opener, with a matchup against the Green Bay Packers set for Sept. 12, the NFL is at least thinking about a fallback plan.
NBC Sports’ Peter King explained the situation in Monday’s column, detailing why the league won’t relocate the game to Lambeau Field and how several other alternative locations are likely out of the question. As a result, the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium might be the best option.
“The NFL wouldn’t move the Sept. 12 game to Lambeau Field for competitive reasons, giving the Pack home-field advantage in such a significant game. And with prospective sites like Indianapolis, Detroit, Houston and Atlanta all unavailable because those teams are home on the 12th, the vacancy at AT&T Stadium in Texas that day might make it the best alternative sight. It’s too early to seriously consider Packers-Saints at Jerryworld in Week 1, but it’s certainly in the back of minds at the NFL this morning”NFL insider Peter King on NFL’s potential plan if New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers game needs to be moved.
Unfortunately, the Saints are familiar with being relocated due to a devastating hurricane. Hurricane Ida struck 16 years after Katrina, which caused the Saints to play on the road for the entire 2005 season. During that season, the Saints played in San Antonio’s Alamodome and LSU’s Tiger Stadium.
One small advantage in the team’s favor is their schedule. The Saints open the season at home and then play their next two games on the road. With only two home contests through Oct. 30, a temporary relocation would be manageable.
Relocation is far more likely than the NFL postponing the Saints and Packers matchup until a later date. New Orleans has its bye in Week 5 and Green Bay has its week off in Week 13, so there would need to be significant shuffling of the entire schedule to make something work.
Considering the NFL will still be facing the risk of COVID-19 breakouts this season, another potential cause of rescheduled games, rescheduling this matchup is likely out of the question.
Ultimately, if the damages caused by Hurricane Ida force the NFL to move the NFC battle, AT&T Stadium is likely where it will be played. The Cowboys are opening the season in the NFL Kickoff Game on Sept. 9 at Raymond James Stadium, meaning their home field would be in perfect condition for the Saints and Packers.