Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is hopeful that the poor air quality in Western Washington will improve in time to not affect Sunday night's game against the New England Patriots at CenturyLink Field.
Smoke from wildfires around Washington state has blown into the Seattle area and compromised the air quality enough to move the Seahawks into their indoor facility Wednesday for their first practice of the week. The team also practiced inside last Friday.
"We're in direct connection with [the NFL] and they are monitoring what's going on as we are as well," Carroll said Wednesday afternoon. "Hopefully we get a good shift in the weather here by the weekend. It looks it could change tomorrow some and into the weekend, but we're very cognizant of it and we're working to figure it out."
According to the website AirNow.gov, which works in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Air Quality Index in Seattle as of Wednesday afternoon was around 190, down from 195 earlier in the day. It was the same in nearby Renton, where the Seahawks practice. The AQI scale deems anything between 151 and 200 to be "unhealthy," with 201 and above considered "very unhealthy."
The website forecasts an AQI of 50 for Sunday, which is considered "good" air quality.
The NFL's operations department monitors AirNow.gov for AQI data.
The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams faced uncertainty last weekend over the potential impact that poor air quality in the Bay Area and Southern California could have on their home games. Both teams played their season openers as scheduled.
The Seahawks opened against the Falcons in Atlanta. Their home opener against New England is set for 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday. The Seahawks are not scheduled to have fans at CenturyLink Field for at least their first three home games amid to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information from ESPN's Nick Wagoner was used in this report.