Snowed-out Buffalo Bills headed to Detroit for first practice
A grounds crew worker begins to clear snow from the football field at Ralph Wilson Stadium following a major storm in the area. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
Provided the Buffalo Bills can clear a few remaining logistical hurdles and collectively navigate nearly seven feet of snow to get there, the team's first practice of the week will be held Friday night at Ford Field.
The team cleared the first hurdle as all 53 players boarded buses Friday afternoon en route to the airport to fly to Detroit. A team official told ESPN that all of Buffalo's coaches and players were rounded up for the trip.
With Ralph Wilson Stadium rendered unplayable by record snowfall over parts of three days in the greater Buffalo area, the Bills and Jets Week 12 game was moved to Wilson's hometown of Detroit.
The NFL moved the home game for the Bills to Detroit's Ford Field and, because the Bills were unable to practice for the past two days during a driving ban in Buffalo, the game moved from the scheduled Sunday 1 p.m. ET kickoff to Monday night at 7 p.m. ET.
When the Bills get another home game is in doubt. Their Week 13 game (Nov. 30) against the Cleveland Browns is no sure thing until state and local assessments are made by relief crews.
At least five feet of snow blanketed most of the region by midday Thursday with more snow falling and as much as two additional feet in the forecast before sunrise Friday.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo, in Western New York for several days, said earlier in the day he did not expect Ralph Wilson Stadium to be playable for Sunday's game.
"If you ask me today, right now ... my two cents would be it would impractical to do the game," Cuomo said Thursday morning as snow continued to stack up.
The NFL had a Friday deadline for determining when and where to play the game.
Before settling on Detroit, the NFL considered Pittsburgh, Washington and Toronto.
"It wouldn't affect us. We would just aim our plane in a different direction I guess," Jets coach Rex Ryan joked before Thursday's announcement. "So, we'll be ready to go one way or the other. It doesn't matter where, when, we'll be ready."
The Jets had contingency plans in place for various scenarios.
"If it's Monday, then we will just have another practice, a Saturday practice, a walkthrough-type practice if you will," Ryan said. "But, I want to make sure our guys are fresh and keep our legs fresh. Outside of the game being played on Tuesday, we would not do a whole lot as far as taxing our legs."