With Hurricane Ian potentially set to severely impact the state of Florida, particularly the Tampa Bay area, safety is the No. 1 priority. That’s why the NFL is monitoring whether or not to allow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 on “Sunday Night Football.”
The National Hurricane Center upgraded Ian to a Category 2 on Monday, which caused the Buccaneers to make plans to evacuate Tampa on Tuesday and practice in Miami at the Dolphins‘ training facility the rest of the week. If the weather does escalate and it is deemed unsafe — it’s currently a Category 3 storm — the league will have to find another place for the two teams to meet.
The need to move the game is something that hopefully won’t happen, but if does, it could reportedly be moved to the Midwest, such as U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota. The Caesars Superdome in New Orleans is also available, per The Times-Picayune. Both venues make sense considering the Vikings and Saints play in London on Sunday morning. One place it reportedly won’t be is Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, as the NFL does not want to use state resources to host a game when those resources could be assisting with hurricane relief in Tampa Bay.
But what about another location? One where the fans know the Buccaneers quarterback all too well and loathe the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs. What about New England?
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Gillette Stadium is home of the New England Patriots and was home to Tom Brady for nearly two decades. Sure, there are some fans who are upset at Brady, bitter that he left the team and headed south, but for the most part the fans in those six states still adore him. They idolize him for his skills and feel indebted to him for the six championships he brought the region in his years as a Patriot.
When Brady returned to Foxborough for the first time since becoming a Buccaneer, the fans cheered for him, many of whom were donning his jersey. Most people make sure they catch both Patriots and Buccaneers games each week and cheer for Brady as if he is still their own.
A game in New England would bring a lot of New Englanders, which would in turn bring Brady fans. And since the Patriots will be in Green Bay this weekend, the stadium is free.
Another reason why New England would be a good choice for the Buccaneers is because of how Patriots nation feels about the Chiefs. I’ll give you a hint: They are not fans.
Toward the end of Brady’s time alongside head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots faced the Chiefs in multiple crucial games, including an AFC Championship Game. The beginning of Brady’s legacy saw the Colts and the Broncos as the two main AFC rivals, but during the second part of his career, the Chiefs were the top enemy.
A lot of New Englanders don’t love the comparisons between Brady and Mahomes, as they believe their “golden boy” should not be compared to anyone.
It would look quite odd to see teams that aren’t the New England Patriots playing at Gillette, so a second option would be Alumni Stadium, home of the Boston College football team. An issue with Alumni Stadium is the capacity is 44,500, about 20,000 less than the home of the Bucs.
The league likely won’t ship anyone up to Boston if the weather is deemed unsafe, but it’s not the worst idea.