UPDATE: The game has been canceled so Texans players can get back home to Houston and start helping with the recovery efforts.
Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston region, leaving behind widespread flooding and significant damage. As a result, the Texans and Cowboys will play their final preseason game in Dallas at AT&T Stadium instead of Houston’s NRG Stadium, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The game will be broadcast on NFL Network Thursday at 8 p.m. ET nationwide, as well as local markets.
How are the Texans handling this? The Texans took all of their players, coaches, and other personnel directly to Dallas for their safety after the team’s Week 3 preseason matchup against the Saints. The team has been practicing at the Cowboys’ facility in Frisco, Texas.
Head coach Bill O’Brien said the team will dedicate this season to the people of Houston.
“We’ve been focused on everything going on back home,” O’Brien said. “We’ve been truly inspired by the resilience we have seen as people continue to deal with what’s going on.
“I’ve seen numerous heroic acts, everything we’ve seen on the TV from the first responders to just neighbors helping neighbors. It’s incredible to all of us and that’s what it’s all about. Houston is a strong community."
J.J. Watt started a fundraising campaign to help with recovery efforts, and it quickly eclipsed its $500,000 goal. Watt said that that Texans players are concerned about the people of Houston.
“It’s very difficult, not only because we have family and friends back there,” Watt said. “Some guys have young kids. Some guys have wives and families. But that’s our city. It’s very tough to watch your city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help.”
Texans owner Bob McNair has committed $1 million to the United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund. The NFL Foundation and the Patriots will each match McNair’s pledge.
How did the NFL respond? The NFL released the following statement:
Due to public safety concerns resulting from the ongoing weather emergency related to Hurricane Harvey, Thursday’s Dallas Cowboys-Houston Texans game originally scheduled to be played in Houston at 7 p.m. CT has been relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Kickoff on Thursday will remain at 7 p.m. CT. Details on tickets, parking and other game day logistics will be announced later this week.
As announced earlier today, The NFL Foundation will match Mr. McNair and the Texans' $1 million contribution to the United Way Relief Fund to address the immediate needs of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The total $2 million contribution will support first response efforts by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the United Way of Greater Houston. Our thoughts are with the Houston community during this difficult time and we encourage fans to text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief.
The NFL and the Texans will continue to closely monitor the situation in Houston and adjust the team’s plans as necessary.
What’s this mean for the Texans’ season opener? The Houston area will need time to recover from Hurricane Harvey. It’s unclear at this point whether the Texans will be able to take the field at NRG in Week 1 against the Jaguars.
If the Texans aren’t able to play in Houston for the season opener, it’s possible the game will be moved to a neutral site. That’s what happened with the Astros and Rangers, who were scheduled to play a three-game series the week immediately after Harvey made landfall. That game was moved to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.