KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All eyes and ears are on the NFL as Hurricane Ian approaches the Gulf of Mexico. There are plenty of questions as the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The biggest questions may be when and where will the game be played.
The Chiefs are still waiting on that decision from the NFL as well and currently have no comment on the situation.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a statewide state of emergency and issued a mandatory evacuation order for much of the Tampa area, affecting about 300,000 people, as Hurricane Ian churns toward Cuba and Florida.
The National Hurricane Center expects Ian to continue to strengthen and reach the southwestern coast of Cuba as a hurricane Monday night. The hurricane will likely shift, but its current track shows the storm making landfall near Tampa Thursday morning. The storm will likely still be impacting the area Friday.
The National Weather Service warned if the storm strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, it could cause catastrophic damage, including power outages that could last days or weeks.
NFL rules state in the case of emergency situations, including a hurricane, the commissioner has the authority to make adjustments to the game as he sees fit.
According to league rules, the commissioner will make every effort to schedule the game at its original site, no later than two days after the original date.
In the Chiefs-Bucs case, it could mean moving the game to Monday or Tuesday in Tampa Bay. The next date change would be Tuesday of the following week.
The commissioner also has the option of moving the game to the nearest available facility to play the game Sunday evening.
A spokesman for the Chiefs said the decision on where and when to play its next game is up to the league, but according to a Tampa Bay Times reporter, the Bucs are working with the NFL to make contingency plans and are considering moving Sunday’s game.
Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles said he hopes to have a decision later Monday.
But as we wait for the decision, it’s a moment of uncertainty for out-of-town ticketholders. The return to Raymond James Stadium is a grudge match for the Chiefs with fans calling it the possibility for revenge for Super Bowl LV.
Shelby Stangl from Gower, Missouri, said the game was an easy choice for a trip.
“We booked our flights, along with everyone else, because those direct flights went fast,” Stangl said.
She said it was Sunday when the severe weather started to get on their radar.
“My dad texted me and asked what we were going to do, and I thought he was just joking,” Stangl said.
Chase Carrera is in the same boat with flights and lodging paid for. He understands that, as Chiefs fans, they might take a financial hit.
“No matter what, I think I’m taking a hit on the Airbnb because we’re not getting that back,” Carrera said.
“My general sentiment toward travel over the past two years has been — it’s never going to be cut and dry,” Carrera said. “You’re never going to go from Point A to Point B.”
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