The Buffalo Bills will play the New York Jets somewhere, but it won’t be Sunday night in Buffalo.
The NFL announced Thursday that the Jets-Bills game will not take place at Ralph Wilson Stadium as scheduled because of the crippling snowstorm that has hit western New York. The game will be played at Ford Field in Detroit on Monday at 4 p.m. PST.
"We have been in contact with the public authorities and we realize the importance of all available public safety resources being available for the community at this difficult time,” league spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement. “We are also in discussions with the team and the Red Cross on ways the NFL can support the community through this weather disaster.”
Detroit was always the most likely candidate since the Bills and Lions have close ties. Ralph Wilson was a minority owner of the Lions before founding the Bills, and throughout his life maintained a close friendship with the Ford family, which owns the Lions.
Although Pittsburgh and Toronto were considered sites to host the game, those options were problematic. Pittsburgh has a grass field, and is used by more than the Steelers, so staging another game there could be especially damaging. Playing the game in Canada would mean pulling together a lot of documentation for two teams on short notice, a logistical nightmare.
Several NFL games have been moved in recent years for weather emergencies. In 2010, the Vikings played a game against Chicago at the University of Minnesota after the roof collapsed on the Metrodome. The following week, because of a blizzard in Philadelphia, the Eagles played a Tuesday night game against the hard-luck Vikings.
In 2005, the New Orleans Saints spent their season away from home, mostly in San Antonio, because of Hurricane Katrina. And in 2003, San Diego had to play a home game in Tempe, Ariz., because of wildfires.
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