One day after Hurricane Ian made landfall on western Florida, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced its Week 4 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night will remain in Tampa Bay as scheduled.
The team's full statement about the schedule announcement is below:
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the many thousands in the Southwest Florida region who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Ian. We are also very thankful that the Tampa Bay area was spared the most damaging consequences of this powerful storm. We have informed the NFL, after consulting with local and state agencies, that we are ready to play Sunday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled.
"We would like to thank all of the local government agencies and the thousands of emergency personnel who worked tirelessly over the past few days to ensure that our area would be ready to respond if needed. We would also like to acknowledge the Miami Dolphins organization for their assistance and hospitality in allowing us to use their practice facilities this week.
"We also want to express our sincere appreciation to the first responders and emergency personnel who are already battling the elements, saving lives, and helping our neighbors in those most impacted areas to our south.
"We will have additional information soon on ways we can join together to support our community and those most impacted by the storm.
The NFL discussed all matters with local authorities, and if the hurricane did force the league to move the game, it planned to hold it in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium, the home of the Vikings. Minnesota is playing the New Orleans Saints in London on Sunday morning, which left the stadium open for the Bucs and Chiefs to use as a contingency plan. Fortunately, that turned out not to be necessary.
The Buccaneers left the Tampa area Tuesday and have been practicing in Miami at the Dolphins facility all week, but they will return to Raymond James Stadium for a crucial Week 4 matchup.
"Our thoughts and hearts go out to everybody in Tampa that's still there. Hoping they recover well and it doesn't hit them very hard," Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday, via The Athletic. "That's the biggest thing. What we do is really small entertainment for people that go through a lot of rough things. Hopefully, we can provide that. It's bigger than just the football team, No. 1. No. 2, it's making sure the players' families are safe and the coaches' families and everybody on the staff is safe so they can concentrate on football."