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Monday, Jul 16, 2018
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Fennelly: Irma left NFL little choice

It was the right move.

It was the only move.

The NFL took the long way home, but it will make the Bucs and Dolphins play in Week 11, in what was once their bye week.

Sixteen straight games without a break isn’t easy. I’m sure the Bucs didn’t want this.

None of us wants Irma.

Once the dimensions of this storm became apparent, with its tracks toward Florida, everything else faded. Alternative game days like Thursday or Monday. Neutral sites like Orlando and Jacksonville.

This was the only way.

The NFL could have sent these teams packing to a neutral site. Bad optics. Just ask Major League Baseball, which dispatched the Houston Astros to Tampa Bay to play games while their community was ravaged.

Upon further review, playing this game anywhere else this weekend would have been a mistake.

Home is where the Bucs and Dolphins need to be this weekend.

From a competitive standpoint, it isn’t ideal. Bye weeks are very useful during a season, very needed.

Will it make the season tougher on Tampa Bay and Miami? Probably. But NFL teams have played 16 consecutive games before. They did it for 13 years, from 1978 to 1990.

I’m sure this rescheduling isn't completely about the big picture. The Dolphins not wanting to lose a home game in favor of a neutral site this weekend factored into it, though hopefully not too much.

Bucs ownership would feel the same way if they were poised to lose a home game.

Business is business.

Enough of that.

Irma is Irma.

And we’re talking about losing bye weeks?

There are people in Texas who have lost everything. There will be people in Florida who might soon be in misery. They won’t have bye weeks, either.

This could be a natural disaster of historic proportions.

It demanded a proportional response. It demanded humanity.



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