A massive storm system is approaching the Northeast, and forecasts are calling for snow totals of anywhere from three to six feet to hit the Buffalo over the next few days. Forecasters are also calling for the potential of “thundersnow,” with the system already delivering that meteorological phenomenon in Northeast Ohio on Thursday morning.
With a storm of this magnitude approaching, the NFL is beginning to explore options for the game. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the league is “monitoring” the storm, and is in contact with both the Browns and the Bills, as well as local officials in Buffalo.
The league also believes it can make a decision as late as Friday if necessary to move the game to a different location.
But according to a report from Tim Graham, who covers the Bills for The Athletic, a decision ahs been made to move the game to Detroit’s Ford Field:
NFL source confirms to me Browns at Bills is being moved to Detroit.
— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) November 17, 2022
Tom Pelissero from the NFL Network confirmed the move as well:
The Bills confirmed the move on social media Thursday afternoon:
Current forecasts anticipate between two-to-four inches of snow falling per hour from Thursday night through Friday night in the Buffalo area:
7pm tonight (Thursday) through 7pm tomorrow (Friday) we will see between 2-4 inches of snow falling per hour.
Expect visibility to be next to zero.
— Katie Morse (@KatieMorseNews) November 17, 2022
This is not the first time than an NFL game has been relocated due to weather, nor the first time that snow was the cause for a game being moved. During the 2010 season, a severe December storm in Minnesota led to the collapse of the inflatable roof atop the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
The collapse of the roof forced the NFL to adjust the schedule for the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants. The roof collapsed on Sunday morning, but because of the snowstorm the NFL had already moved the game to Monday night, due to concerns from local and stadium officials. But with the collapse of the roof, the game was moved to Ford Field in Detroit, and still played on Monday night.
Later that month, a game scheduled for Sunday night between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Vikings was moved to Tuesday, due to a snowstorm in Philadelphia. This set up a strange set of circumstances where the Eagles were able to clinch the NFC East while watching from their couches, as the Green Bay Packers beat the Giants that Sunday while the Eagles were home watching on TV.
The most recent NFL game moved due to snow was, in fact, a Bills’ game. During the 2014 season, a snowstorm forced the league to move the Bills’ game against the New York Jets to Detroit.
At the time of the move, league officials cited concerns over public safety: “As mentioned earlier today, public safety resources in western New York must be fully available to deal with the recovery from the storm. We continue our discussions with the team and the Red Cross on ways the NFL can support the community through this weather disaster.”
Why is Detroit the choice in this situation as well? The Lions are on a bye this week, and the Bills actually play in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Theoretically, the Bills could stay in Detroit if conditions prevent them from returning to Buffalo after Sunday’s game.
This story will be updated as more information is provided from the NFL.