NFL Relocates Bills Home Game Against Jets Due to Snow - NBC Southern California

NFL Relocates Bills Home Game Against Jets Due to Snow

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NFL Relocates Bills Home Game Against Jets Due to Snow
    AP

    Snowed out in Buffalo, the Bills are heading to Detroit to play their "home" game against the New York Jets on Monday night.

    The NFL announced the location and date of the game on Thursday night after a severe lake-effect storm paralyzed much of the Buffalo region. More than 5 feet of snow has fallen in the Buffalo area since Monday, and another 1 to 3 feet was projected to fall by Friday.

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    The storm forced the Bills to cancel their past two days of practice because of impassable roads and driving bans in Orchard Park and many communities neighboring Ralph Wilson Stadium. The team intends to travel to Detroit on Friday and practice at the Lions' facility.

    The Lions are at New England on Sunday.

    "We greatly appreciate the hospitality of the Detroit Lions in hosting the Bills and this game," NFL spokesman Michael Signora said.

    This marks the second time the Bills will play at Ford Field this season following a 17-14 win over the Lions on Oct. 5. It also is the second time in four years the facility has hosted a neutral site game.

    The last time an NFL game was moved to Ford Field unexpectedly, the fans who did show up witnessed a bit of history. Brett Favre's streak of 297 regular-season starts came to an end that night — on Dec. 13, 2010 — when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the New York Giants 21-3. Favre was sidelined by shoulder and hand issues.

    That game was moved to Detroit because the Metrodome roof collapsed.

    The decision to relocate comes as communities south and east of Buffalo -- including the Bills home in Orchard Park -- have been blanketed by more than 5 feet of snow since Monday. Snow continued to fall on Thursday, with projected accumulations ranging between 1 and 3 feet.

    Earlier in the day, Gov. Cuomo said it would be difficult for the game to be played on schedule.

    "If you ask me today, right now, my sense is it's impractical to do the game because it would jeopardize public safety," Cuomo said. "Everybody would love to see a Bills game go forward, but I think even more, everybody wants to make sure public safety comes first."

    Cuomo spoke after spending the past day touring the affected region.

    The Bills can't even hold practices because their players are snowed in. And those who can get out can't get to the team's facility because of a driving ban in place in Orchard Park and many of its neighboring communities.

    As a result, the Bills canceled practice for a second straight day on Thursday.

    On Wednesday, Bills Vice President of Operations Andy Major wasn't sure whether there was enough time to clear Ralph Wilson Stadium and its surrounding parking lots of the estimated 220,000 tons of snow covering the team's 200-acre grounds by Sunday.

    The Bills (5-5), who last practiced on Monday, are already coming off an extended break. They had last weekend off following a 22-9 loss at Miami on Nov. 13. The Jets (2-8) are coming out of their bye week, and haven't played since a 20-13 win against Pittsburgh on Nov. 9.

    Jets coach Rex Ryan said his team wouldn't be hampered by a change of venue.

    "It wouldn't affect us," Ryan said Thursday. "We'd just aim our plane in a different direction, I guess."
    The temperatures are expected to warm into the 40s by Saturday, with a high of 47 projected for Sunday. But a sudden thaw presents another problem by raising flooding concerns.

    Starting guard Kraig Urbik is among the Bills players who are snowed in.

    "Any chance my street gets plowed today," Urbik posted on his Twitter account Thursday. "Or are we stuck here till Saturday?"