Despite several anxious days of waiting and watching, Hurricane Irma spared much of Florida, and the state is returning to normal. Week 1’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was postponed to Week 11, but the team has announced that Week 2’s home game against the Chicago Bears will go on as scheduled.
As documented in Sports Illustrated, Buccaneers players scattered in advance of Irma, with several flying to Charlotte and others weathering the storm in town.
Fortunately for Tampa, dire predictions of Irma’s path and damage didn’t materialize, as the storm broke up before slamming into the city at full power. The team’s Raymond James Stadium was used as a staging area for first responders, but since the facility didn’t suffer damage or lose power, this weekend’s game will go on as scheduled.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) September 12, 2017
“We have been working tirelessly with the Tampa Sports Authority, as well as the NFL league office, to ensure that Raymond James Stadium would be available to host our season opener against the Chicago Bears this Sunday.” Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said in a statement. “Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days. We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season.”
The trick now will be gathering all the far-flung Bucs. Travel will be difficult into Tampa because of airport closures, and Tampa Bay is already on the clock to prepare for the Bears:
Regardless, this weekend will be a chance for the city to exhale and be thankful that the damage isn’t much, much worse.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Sideline reporter explains awkward ‘Monday Night Football’ moment
• NFL Power Rankings: Who replaces Pats as No. 1?
• Curry takes strong stance on Kaepernick’s NFL status
• Pat Forde: The ugly truth about racism and coaches in the NCAA