2ND UPDATE: The NFL said Thursday that the Tampa Ba Buccaneers-Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday night will be played at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium as originally planned, after Hurricane Ian’s wrath forced league officials earlier in the week to consider moving the primetime showdown out of Florida.
Hurricane Ian landed as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, with the main force hitting Florida’s west coast around Fort Myers, which is about 90 miles south of Tampa. That spared the Bucs’ home stadium enough that the league agreed today to keep the game as planned. The Tom Brady-Patrick Mahomes showdown had already been set as NBC’s Sunday Night Football game this week.
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“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the many thousands in the Southwest Florida region who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Ian,” the Bucs said in a statement today. “We are also very thankful that the Tampa Bay area was spared the most damaging consequences of this powerful storm. We have informed the NFL, after consulting with local and state agencies, that we are ready to play Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled.”
Earlier Wednesday, the NFL had a contingency plan in place to move the game to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
On Monday, the Buccaneers moved their game prep to the Miami Dolphins’ training complex in Miami Gardens to avoid the storm’s impacts.
UPDATED, Wednesday PM: As Category 4 Hurricane Ian pummeled Fort Myers just 90 miles south of Tampa Bay, NFL and Buccaneers officials announced a contingency plan today for the team’s high profile Sunday night home game against the the Kansas City Chiefs.
U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was identified by the league’s EVP Jeff Milleras as the contingency site for the matchup, according to multiple reports. The Vikings’ stadium is available because that team is in London for a faceoff with the New Orleans Saints.
“We are in regular contact with the NFL about Sunday night’s game and are preparing for both locations,” an NBC Sports spokesperson told Deadline today.
Officials are reportedly doing their best to keep the game in Tampa, but if the contest is moved, it will stay on Sunday night. That’s surely a relief to broadcast partner NBC, which is looking forward to the primetime matchup between two of the best quarterbacks in the league, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.
On Monday, Brady and the Bucs moved their game prep to the Miami Dolphins’ Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens to avoid the storm’s impacts.
PREVIOUSLY, September 26: With the National Hurricane Center predicting a “near worst-case scenario” when Hurricane Ian is forecast to slam ashore in Tampa Bay Thursday, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have decided to decamp to Miami to for their scheduled Sunday Night Football home game this weekend against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The marquee matchup is set to be held at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium and broadcast on NBC at 8:20 p.m. ET.
The Bucs announced they will make use of the Miami Dolphins’ Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Florida starting Wednesday since the Dolphins “would be finished with their on-field preparations by Wednesday morning” and headed to Cincinnati to face the Bengals this weekend.
Per a team statement just issued, “As of Monday afternoon, there have been no changes to the plans for Tampa Bay’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymonds James Stadium on Sunday night, with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET. The NFL, in consultation with team and local officials, will continue to monitor the situation.”
With Hurricane Ian potentially hitting the Bay area this week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made contingency plans for this week’s preparations for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The team will depart Tampa on Tuesday and relocate their football operations to Miami-Dade County. The Buccaneers are expected to practice at the Miami Dolphins’ Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Florida, starting on Wednesday, through the end of Week 4 preparations, if necessary. The Dolphins play at Cincinnati in Week Four and would be finished with their on-field preparations by Wednesday morning.
As of Monday afternoon, there have been no changes to the plans for Tampa Bay’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymonds James Stadium on Sunday night, with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET. The NFL, in consultation with team and local officials, will continue to monitor the situation.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 26, 2022
Ian is expected to be a major hurricane shortly before it arrives in Tampa Bay, with winds nearing 100 mph. The slow-moving storm is forecast to dump heavy rain on the region, with its counter-clockwise circulation piling up water and creating an extended 5-10 foot storm surge both at the beach and inside the bay.
A Hurricane Warning has been issued by the NWS for the region on Monday evening, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Area schools have closed ahead of the storm and the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport will do likewise Tuesday report ABC News and the Times. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for parts of three local counties.
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