The first week of the 2018 NFL season gave us the longest game ever when the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins took over seven hours to finish due to two different weather delays. Now, Hurricane Florence is threatening to impact games in Week 2.
The hurricane is currently a Category 3 with tropical-storm-force winds expected to arrive as soon as Thursday.
BREAKING: Florence weakens slightly to Category 3 hurricane, with winds near 125 mph (201 kph). Still ‘extremely dangerous’
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 12, 2018
It is projected to crawl near or along the coast of the Carolinas through at least Saturday.
More than a dozen college football games have been postponed or relocated ahead of Hurricane Florence’s arrival. Will the same happen to any of the 16 NFL games in Week 2?
Which games could be affected?
On Thursday, there’s a game in Cincinnati and Monday Night Football will be in Chicago. Neither are in danger, nor are Sunday games in Nashville, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, and Dallas.
That leaves seven games in states along the Atlantic Coast (home teams listed second):
- Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. ET
- Indianapolis Colts vs. Washington, 1 p.m. ET
- Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. ET
- Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET
- Los Angeles Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET
- New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 4:25 p.m. ET
But the most devastating effects of Hurricane Florence are expected to be in the Carolinas and Virginia. The games for the Steelers, Jets, Bills, Buccaneers have mostly clear forecasts. The Sunday afternoon game in Jacksonville is threatened only by some wind and possible rain showers.
The ones really in Hurricane Florence’s path are the games in Atlanta and Washington, although the Falcons and Panthers will be protected by the retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Panthers are considering heading to Atlanta early to avoid the hurricane and have other possible plans, but currently aren’t making any changes to their week:
RR says Panthers have several contingency plans in place with Hurricane Florence looming.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) September 12, 2018
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, so the weather could make it difficult for fans and stadium workers to get to the game. But it appears as though the contest itself isn’t in jeopardy.
What about the Colts vs. Washington?
For now, the forecast at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland projects a cloudy day without much wind. The Colts are preparing themselves for the possibility of a rainy game, but the NFL is thinking about more severe scenarios.
A relocation or postponement seems unlikely, though.
If the game — or any other matchup — is forced into a delay, it’s up to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to decide if the game warrants cancellation. Via the NFL official rules:
If, in the Commissioner’s opinion, it is reasonable to project that the resumption of an interrupted game would not change its ultimate result or adversely affect any other inter-team competitive issue, he is empowered to terminate the game.
A year ago, a season-opening game between the Buccaneers and Dolphins was postponed 10 weeks due to Hurricane Irma. A game during the 2017 preseason between the Texans and Cowboys was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Florence probably won’t alter the schedule at this point, though.