The Tennessee Titans are scheduled to face the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday, but the path of Hurricane Matthew may force the NFL to move that game to Nashville. The league is also preparing for the possibility that the Bucs and Panthers game scheduled for Monday may have to be moved due to weather.
The Titans have been preparing for South Florida heat and humidity and expecting to play the game in Miami, but head coach Mike Mularkey said Tuesday that the team may have to adjust.
"We're watching the weather with the hurricane that's going on down there," Mularkey said Tuesday on his weekly radio show. "There may be some weather issues. There's a very slight chance that game could be moved up here. There's been some discussion because of it."
The Buccaneers experienced weather delays during Week 3 and Week 4, and this week Tampa Bay's game against the Panthers, which is scheduled to take place at Bank of American Stadium in Charlotte, may need to change venues depending on the path of the storm and its severity.
On Thursday, the NFL issued a statement indicating it has contingency plans in place in the event either, or both, of these games needs to be relocated.
Our statement on contingency planning pic.twitter.com/OIEiBTF2Ix— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) October 6, 2016
Hurricane Matthew brought sustained winds of 125 miles per hour and was projected to drop at least 40 inches of rain on Haiti and Cuba, leaving behind devastating flooding.
Matthew likely won’t make landfall until Thursday, but it is projected to do so as a Category 4 hurricane, and Florida has already declared a state of emergency. The storm is forecast to sweep up the southeastern coast of the United States, and it’s difficult to project exactly where it may hit and what the impact may be.
The Dolphins recently upgraded Hard Rock Stadium, putting half a billion dollars into making sure the structure could withstand a Category 4 storm.
"It is designed to withstand a Category 4 hurricane, and last time I checked, Matthew was a Category 4 hurricane. If that doesn't fly off, we'll be OK," said Steven Wine, a Dolphins beat writer for the Associated Press.
As of late Tuesday night, the National Weather Service had issued a hurricane warning for parts of South Florida, including the Miami metro area. Evacuations of Florida’s barrier islands have been ordered, and Gov. Rick Scott said mainland evacuation orders may be imminent.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase said the team has protocols in place to handle any change that may be necessary because of the hurricane.
"If we need to make any changes, there’s plans in place already," Gase said to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. "We had discussions before we took off for summer break, we had discussions after we got back, as far as certain situations of what we would do. We went to the extent if we ever had to go somewhere else, if we had to leave early in a week. We have protocols that we have in place. It’s just now kind of a wait and see for us."
If Hurricane Matthew does make landfall in South Florida, the impact would be severe enough to force the Dolphins and Titans to play in Nashville.