A matchup between two contenders who recently met in the Super Bowl is scheduled to take place Sunday night, as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are set to visit Tampa to face Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. However, Hurricane Ian has changed how the teams are preparing for the important showdown, and may even reschedule the game altogether.
Hours after the National Hurricane Center upgraded Ian to a Category 2 storm on Monday, the Buccaneers finalized plans to evacuate Tampa on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week practicing at the Dolphins' training facility in Miami, according to CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones. Since the Dolphins play the Bengals on the road this Thursday, their stadium and fields were available for use.
In the meantime, the NFL is continuing to monitor storm developments to determine whether the Buccaneers' Sunday night matchup with the Chiefs can proceed as scheduled in Tampa.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles previously said Monday that the team is working with the NFL to make contingency plans in case they are forced to move Sunday's game.
"Right now, we're still monitoring things but we're working things out with the league and we should have a decision hopefully later on today about what we're going to do," Bowles said, via Rick Stroud.
While Miami may be where the Bucs are practicing this week, ESPN reports that the NFL is unlikely to use Miami as the new game site in the event that it is forced to change locations. The reason being that the NFL does not want to risk using state resources to host a game in Miami when it could be assisting in Tampa Bay to hurricane relief.
With that in mind, the report adds that the Bucs and Chiefs would likely be played at a neutral site in the Midwest like Minneapolis. The Vikings are in London for a Week 4 matchup against the Saints, so U.S. Bank Stadium would be available.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cuba early Tuesday as a Category 3 storm, per The Washington Post. As of now, the projections show the hurricane making its largest impact/landfall in Tampa on Wednesday through Thursday.