Did the NFL impose their will on the Miami Dolphins and the Buccaneers?

Dolphins football helmet - Image by Brian Miller
Dolphins football helmet - Image by Brian Miller /

Here comes some unconfirmed solicitous soap box standing at a time when there are greater concerns facing this weekend.

Normally I tend to side with the NFL in most of their decisions. And realize the commissioner has a fine line to tote that will never please all parties involved. But there was one point that made all that go away and soured this decision made on both the Miami Dolphins and Bucs.

The telling part of his point was I saw it long before any conference calls were made to these teams involved. You may have seen something like it also. Reports of this game being done away and with both teams effectively losing their bye weeks from having to play on the date they both shared.

And it wasn’t just suggestions or the pointing out that both teams shared the bye week dates. It was someone from the Bucs media stating this is what will happen and it must have come from the NFL.

A week one bye what the heck is that? Doesn’t it defeat the whole purpose? It is basically starting the season one week late.

Early chatter had the game possibly being moved up sooner to beat the storm by being played on Thursday or even Friday which would have been pushing it too close with the effects of hurricane Irma intensifying later that day from early projections.

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Playing the game on Thursday would have shared the stage with last season’s Super Bowl teams playing the opening game. But playing it early would have made a double-header game with not much distraction from not have much if any overlap.

The logistics would have had to be overcome, tickets sold would be honored, TV airing and such. But at the local level a state of emergency had started on Wednesday and the Miami-Dade police were put on long shifts starting Thursday.

Later on the idea of a neutral site to be played on Sunday arose with Philly and Pittsburgh being thrown around as possible host cities. More logistics but also the chance for the NFL to show something of themselves and give back by maybe donating some or all the ticket proceeds toward hurricane relief. The league has been charitable in the past but it has always been planned out long in advance never spur of the moment.

The delay in making the announcement might have been window dressing to make it look like some input was asked of the players. I find it hard to believe that was the case unless I see a report stating so. The delay made the logistics harder to come by hosting the game at home and they most likely killed the time to have their way.

According to James Walker “Nearly every player that met with the media wanted to play the Buccaneers this week and retain their bye.” It would probably be a safe bet that the same thing happened on the Bucs side.

Any other options? How about swapping out the Saints for the Bucs in the London game and give both teams their bye weeks back? This would probably hinge on the Saints agreeing to take that week as the bye, otherwise it would be a match-up nightmare.

Armando Salguero has the idea of having the London game brought back to Miami. That would also work assuming the surrounding damage or lack thereof would favor it.

Where is the NFLPA having anything to say about playing 16 games straight for two teams?

16 games straight for the Miami Dolphins or 6-7 home games this season. Does it have to be a choice? Can’t this be rectified? There has to be something the NFL can do that would be better than a week one bye.

Spending a home game in London allows the Miami Dolphins to host a Super Bowl. And owner Mr. Ross agreed to it as the carrot on the stick. But lately this owner has shown he is also invested in building a winning team and not afraid to dip into his own pocket. So I doubt any decision of profits first came from him.