NFL makes the “convenient” choice, not the “right” one

Inside the practice bubble: Image by Brian Miller
Inside the practice bubble: Image by Brian Miller /

The NFL was correct in their decision to not play the Dolphins/Buccaneers game in Miami this week.  However, moving the game to week 11 was a mistake.

Let me begin this article by sending best wishes to everyone in South Florida and Hurricane Irma’s path.  Your safety is, by far, the #1 concern.  With that said, let’s talk about this from a football perspective.

Anybody that has ever experienced a major hurricane knows that the NFL made the right decision Tuesday when they decided trying to play the game in Miami would have been a major mistake.  Residents of South Florida are scouring stores to find batteries and bottled water; they don’t need to be worrying about how to attend a Thursday/Friday Dolphins game.  Add to that the fact that municipal resources (fire, police, etc) are better spent preparing for Irma than staffing an NFL game.  Now that we have discussed what the NFL got right, let’s talk about where they went wrong.

The NFL got lucky that both the Bucs and Dolphins share a bye week, otherwise, what would they have done?  I’ll tell you…They would have found a way to get the game in.

They would have moved the game to a neutral site on Sunday or Monday.  (There is a precedent.)

Or they would have played “Week 18” and moved the playoffs back a week.  (There is a week between the Championship games and the Super Bowl already.)

Either way, if the NFL could have found a way, then they should have ‘forced themselves’ to do it.

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Instead fans were subjected to talk about the safety of fans and players’ families and about the “logistics” of trying to play somewhere else.

For all the NFL’s talk about how ‘players need to take care of loved ones in Florida’, I haven’t found a player that has said they were glad that the game was postponed.  Instead players on BOTH teams have said they don’t want to play 16 straight weeks.  NFL players care about their community but they know there is little they can do to fight 180 mph winds.

As for the ‘personnel logistics’? It’s a shame that the teams don’t have private charter planes to pack up their equipment, personnel and executives and bring them to another site….oh wait, never mind.

And the TV ‘logistics’?  The Fox crew probably never even traveled to Miami so they would have the same amount of time to set up in the new city as they would have had in Miami.

The ‘pros’ are that Miami doesn’t lose ANOTHER home game; which should make fans, and vendors, happy.  (Let’s not forget, of course, the happiness of the NFL/Dolphins who now don’t have to refund tickets to the game.)

The ‘cons’?  Miami loses their bye week which would have come at a critical time since Weeks 12-16; include two games against the rival Patriots.  It also puts Miami’s players at higher risk for injury because the other 30 teams in the league get a week to rest their players.  When players get tired, they are more prone to injury.

(I know some will say “Suck it up!  Teams played for years without a bye.”  While that is true, ALL teams played without a bye so every team had to EQUALLY “suck it up”.  That isn’t the case here.)

In the end, the NFL showed they continue to do what’s ‘convenient’ for them while showing how little regard they have for player safety.