The NFL has announced that the Miami Dolphins season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scheduled for this Sunday will now take place on November 19. This comes in the wake of the looming devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and the expected impact this ‘monster’ is expected to unleash on South Florida.

Why was this decision taken?

On September 5, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Irma’s landfall on the American mainland is anticipated to occur this weekend. It has been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane. With Irma packing winds of 185mph and wiping out communication in Barbuda, destroying four of the strongest buildings in Saint Martin as well as the Princess Juliana International Airport, it has been described as one of the most powerful storms to occur in the Atlantic.

"In the interest of public safety in light of the current state of emergency, the NFL, in consultation with the state and local officials as well as both clubs, has decided that playing an NFL game in South Florida this week is not appropriate," reads a statement from the league.

Evacuation orders are currently in effect for Miami and the Florida Keys. According to a statement from the Monroe County School District, as of Wednesday all schools in the Florida Keys have been closed until further notice.

What does this mean for the two teams?

With the Dolphin’s season opener with the Buccaneers now carded to take place at the Hard Rock Stadium on November 19, it means that the game between both sides is now a Week 11 game. Initially, both teams resisted this move! Coincidentally though this happens to be the ‘bye week’ not just for the Dolphins, but it is also the ‘bye week’ for the Buccaneers as well.

In essence, it means that both teams will play the season without a break! While it may not be ideal all things considered, it is the only workable option given their schedules.

Instead the Dolphins first game of the season will be against the Los Angeles Chargers. This game is carded for September 17, and it also means their first home game would not be until October. The Buccaneers will also be playing on September 17. They will come up against the Chicago Bears.

Essentially the season opener being postponed has a dual effect. On the one hand, it means that the players now have the time to ensure the safety of their families. It gives the sons, fathers, brothers, and husbands of the Dolphins some time to figure out how to survive Irma and all that she may bring.

On the other hand, it means that both teams now have their ‘bye weeks’ at the very beginning and get to spend more time getting ready for the September 17 games. This surely can be equated to getting more rest, getting stronger and ensuring that their injuries get more time to heal.