NFL relocates Bills home game against Jets
BUFFALO, New York (AP) — The NFL has decided to move the Bills’ home game against the New York Jets to Monday night in Detroit after a severe winter storm pounded western New York.
League spokesman Michael Signora announced the change on Thursday night.
The team intends to travel to Detroit on Friday and practice at the Detroit Lions’ facility. The Lions are at New England on Sunday.
More than 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow has fallen on the region since Monday, and more was projected to fall by Friday.
There’s no telling if the Bills can have Ralph Wilson Stadium ready in time for their following home game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 30, team president Russ Brandon said during a telephone conference Thursday night.
Without providing any assurances, Brandon said it will take “an all hands on deck exercise” to have the stadium ready to host the Browns. He added that the Bills are already contemplating the possibility of spending much of next week practicing out of town because of how difficult it could be to travel in Buffalo because of the paralyzing storm.
Brandon spoke an hour after the NFL announced that it will relocate the Bills home game against the Jets due to public safety concerns.
The Bills have canceled the past two days of practice because many of the players are snowed in. And those who can get out can’t get to the team’s facility because of a driving ban in place in Orchard Park and many of its neighboring communities,
The Bills (5-5), who last practiced on Monday, are already coming off an extended break. They had last weekend off following a 22-9 loss at Miami on Nov. 13. The Jets (2-8) are coming out of their bye week, and haven’t played since a 20-13 win against Pittsburgh on Nov. 9.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said his team wouldn’t be hampered by a change of venue.
“It wouldn’t affect us,” Ryan said Thursday. “We’d just aim our plane in a different direction, I guess.”
The temperatures are expected to warm by Saturday, but a sudden thaw presents another problem by raising flooding concerns.
Though rare, changing the date or location of a game has happened before in the NFL.
The most notable switch occurred in 2005, when the New Orleans Saints were forced to split their season playing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and San Antonio, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina damaged the Louisiana Superdome. In 2010, the Minnesota Vikings were forced to play their home game against the New York Giants a day later in Detroit after the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome’s roof tore open.
The last schedule change occurred at Philadelphia in late December of 2010. That’s when the Eagles’ home game against Minnesota on Dec. 26 was pushed back two days as a safety precaution because a storm was expected to drop a more than a foot of snow in Philadelphia
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