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NFL fans won’t have an opportunity to see a snow game this weekend after the NFL moved Sunday’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns to Ford Field in Detroit.
According to Fox Weather, the Buffalo area is expected to receive up to four feet of snow between Thursday and Sunday.
A field crew member uses a blowing machine to move snow on the field prior to a game between the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium Jan. 2, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
(Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
The last time snowfall forced an NFL game to be relocated was in 2014, when a Bills-New York Jets game was moved to Detroit, according to ESPN.
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“Due to public safety concerns and out of an abundance of caution in light of the ongoing weather emergency in western New York, Sunday’s Cleveland Browns-Buffalo Bills game will be moved to Ford Field in Detroit at 1 p.m. ET,” the NFL said in an announcement.
“The decision to move the game from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, was done in consultation with the Buffalo Bills and local and state authorities as the region prepares for the storm.”
Thursday morning, NFL Network reported that the league was “monitoring” the situation in Buffalo and had been in contact with both teams.
“As of this point, the NFL is of course monitoring the storm,” NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero said Thursday morning. “They are in regular communication with the Bills and the Browns.
A view of Highmark Stadium as snow falls before a game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills Dec. 6, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
(Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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“If the game had to be moved, there are other alternate venues it could go to,” Pelisseroadded. “Detroit is certainly one possibility. From my understanding, there is not a discussion about moving the time of the game — pushing it back a day or two. That’s, in part, because the Bills have a Thanksgiving morning game in Detroit.”
While there is optimism the storm will have blown through by game time, the amount of snow expected to fall around the city would have created a logistical nightmare.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters Wednesday the team had started to plan for the possibility of not being able to practice Friday and Saturday.
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“I know our team is in communication with the NFL,” McDermott said Wednesday, according to the New York Post. “They’ve been through it before, we’ve been through it before. The football team has to get ready to play a game and execute.
Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills after a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Highmark Stadium Nov. 13, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
(Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
“This is a resilient town. All the people with snow plows and snowmobiles and all that type of jazz, I’m sure they’ll chip in and lend a hand. We’ve got a lot of guys from Florida, down south and out west that have never seen snow before.
“Our development team does a great job — they equip them with scrapers and deicing mechanisms. We’ve already started to plan … what happens if we can’t get in (practices) Friday, can’t get in Saturday … We’re working on that also.”
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for the Buffalo and Watertown areas due to the amount of expected snow, according to FOX Weather.
The kickoff between the Browns and the Bills is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Sunday.