ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WJW/AP) — The NFL has moved the Cleveland Browns game at Buffalo to Ford Field in Detroit.
The National Weather Service is predicting a “paralyzing” snowfall for the Buffalo, New York, area continuing through 1 p.m. Sunday, kickoff time for the Cleveland Browns‘ game against the Buffalo Bills.
Here’s what the Browns said in a statement:
“Due to public safety concerns surrounding the ongoing weather emergency in the Buffalo area this weekend, our game has been relocated to Ford Field in Detroit. Sunday’s kickoff is set for 1pm.”Cleveland Browns
Details on tickets and other game-day information for Sunday’s game in Detroit will be announced shortly. The Bills will provide information for those fans with tickets to the game originally scheduled for Orchard Park.
Buffalo is expecting nearly 45 inches of lake effect snow through early Sunday, just down I-90 on Lake Erie.
The switch in sites means the Bills will play back-to-back games in Detroit. They’re scheduled to play the Lions on Thanksgiving.
The NFL said it was monitoring the weather and had been in contact with both the Browns and the Bills, a spokesperson told FOX 8 Wednesday.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on Wednesday said the team has prepared for wintry conditions in Buffalo.
“When weather is going to be a factor as it might be, you’re always thinking about having plays you might turn to should it be a major factor,” he told reporters Wednesday. “Jacoby [Brissett] played in a whiteout in this stadium in 2017, so he’s used to it.”
“Yeah, I remember vividly walking in after warm-ups and walking back out for the game. I was walking next to Paul Certizio, our security director, and I saw the amount of snow already in that amount of time that had lapsed between going in and coming back out and I turned to him and I said, ‘Is this normal?’” Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott said about the snowfall in 2017.
The Browns prepared for the possibility of a venue switch by putting together two offensive game plans: one outdoor, one indoor.
“We will be ready for both,” said offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. “That’s one thing that COVID years have done for us, we are very flexible and used to adapting and adjusting to any circumstances that come up.”
With the potential for playing in wind and blowing snow, Cleveland was set to rely on its running game with Nick Chubb getting enough carries to even satisfy those Browns fans who criticize coach Kevin Stefanski for not giving the ball to his star back on every play.
Now, a game inside Detroit’s warm-and-cozy stadium will allow the Browns to use their complete playbook.
Travel is expected to be an issue Sunday along I-90. Major roadways could be rendered impassable and visibility could be “completely reduced,” with snow blowing across roadways by gusts of wind that could reach 35 mph. Interstate 90, the main route from Ohio to the Buffalo area, is right through the storm’s path.
The Browns and Bills played a memorable snow game in Cleveland in 2007. Aiming for the goal line pylons in blizzard-level winds, Browns kicker Phil Dawson somehow made two field goals and the Bills snapped the ball into the end zone for a safety in Cleveland’s 8-0 win.