The Week 1 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins has been rescheduled for Week 11 because of the threat from Hurricane Irma, the NFL announced Wednesday. Both teams share the same bye week, and the game will be played on Nov. 19.
Officials considered various options, including moving the game to a neutral site. However, the league and teams ultimately decided postponement was the best choice. Both teams can now concentrate on safety and taking care of their families as Irma, now a Category 5 hurricane, is expected to turn toward southern Florida over the weekend.
The Dolphins and Buccaneers will be required to play 16 straight games this season, which is not ideal for either club. Miami players made it clear this week they preferred to play the game and keep the bye, despite the circumstances.
"The NFL announced yesterday that in the interest of public safety, in light of the continuing state of emergency, the league, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, would not play an NFL game in South Florida this week," a league statement stated. "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the impacted area."
On Wednesday the Dolphins canceled practice and will have no media availability.
Hard Rock Stadium had about $500 million in renovations over the past two years, much of which went toward reinforcing the stadium to withstand a Category 4 hurricane.