The Miami Dolphins through owner Stephen Ross asked the NFL if the game against New Orleans could be moved back to Miami. The NFL said no.
Ross told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that he “asked” regarding the game in London. According to Jackson the NFL responded and Ross told Jackson “It will be played in London”. The Dolphins accepted the overseas trip and loss of the home game in order to gain a Super Bowl in Miami. The NFL will play four games in Europe this season.
Miami lost its home opener this past weekend when Hurricane Irma forced the NFL to postpone the game rather than relocate it. The game was rescheduled for November 19th. The Buccaneers and Dolphins shared the same bye week.
The Dolphins are currently in Oxnard, Ca. practicing ahead of their game in Los Angeles. They will then travel to New York to face the Jets and then to London to play the Saints. That is a lot of travel for any team let alone one that is in the midst of a natural disaster back home.
Many fans will be extremely upset by the NFL’s decision but it should be noted that it is not as simple as relocating a game in the U.S. The NFL plays a dangerous game when scheduling games abroad. While it expands the NFL’s brand, problems like this one are not easily solved.
For starters, there is the deal with the stadium and London. While the NFL can justify the change of venue, there are thousands of fans who have pre-booked non-refundable flights from all over the world to attend the game. The game tickets are refundable but what about airfare and hotel accommodations? The NFL isn’t likely going to reimburse those fans who lose if the game isn’t played.
Ideally the game would be moved back to Miami although there is no guarantee that the millions of people without power would have it back up then. Or the stadium for that matter. There is no guarantee that as of today the Dolphins know when the team will be able to return to their own practice facility.
There simply are too many gears turning and rotating for the Dolphins to have expected anything but a no answer. Changing the games venue in a short three weeks sounds great but it simply isn’t a plausible option this late or early in the season.