Hurricane Irma forces Dolphins-Buccaneers game to Week 11; Heinz Field won't host game
Update: 9:15 a.m.
The NFL is postponing Sunday's Miami Dolphins-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game until Week 11, when both teams have a bye.
The teams were slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., but powerful Hurricane Irma is expected to impact South Florida sometime between Saturday night and Monday night.
Heinz Field was in consideration as a neutral-site host for the game along with Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.
There might be an NFL game at Heinz Field during Week 1, after all.
While the Steelers will be on the road against the Cleveland Browns, it's possible the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play their Week 1 matchup in Pittsburgh as South Florida braces for a potential direct impact from Hurricane Irma, ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler tweeted Tuesday.
The game also could be played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Fowler reports. The Eagles open the season at the Washington Redskins.
Sources: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are neutral sites under consideration if Bucs-Dolphins play this week. Decision likely tomorrow.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 6, 2017
Irma became a likely-catastrophic Category 5 storm Tuesday morning, and although it's expected to weaken some — down to a Category 3 by the time it potentially makes landfall in Florida — the NFL decided Tuesday the Dolphins-Bucs game would not be played at Hard Rock Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Fowler also said it's possible the Dolphins and Bucs reconsider playing the game altogether.
Two sources involved in Bucs-Dolphins say prepared to play Pittsburgh/Philly, but concern exists. "What if (storm) really bad?" one said.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 6, 2017
It's the second time in two weeks a hurricane is wreaking havoc on coastal residents — and professional sports teams.
After Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25,, the Houston Astros were forced to play three "home" games last week against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Astros returned to Houston and hosted the Mets on Sept. 2, eight days after Harvey made landfall.
The most recent tracking data shows the center of Irma storm will be over or near South Florida sometime Sunday or Monday.
The effects of the storm will be felt in South Florida regardless if Irma makes a direct landfall.
The massive cyclone buzz-sawing its way through the Atlantic is larger than the state of Ohio.