The NFL has announced that this weekend's Buffalo Bills/New York Jets game will be played Monday evening in Detroit, not Sunday in Orchard Park.
The decision was made late Thursday, after much speculation over how this week's lake-effect snowstorm would affect the contest. The game is now scheduled for 7 p.m. at Detroit's Ford Field. The team is expected to head to Detroit Friday.
"Due to public safety concerns in light of the ongoing weather emergency in Western New York, Sunday's Jets-Bills game will not be played in Buffalo," NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement.
"We have been in contact with the public authorities and we realize the importance of all available public safety resources being available for the community at this difficult time. We are also in discussions with the team and the Red Cross on ways the NFL can support the community through this weather disaster."
During a storm update Thursday morning in Cheektowaga, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said public safety comes first.
"At this point in time, doing what we have to do with the driving ban, staying off the roads, would make a Bills game impractical," Cuomo said. "It could jeopardize public safety."
On Wednesday, Bills Vice President of Operations Andy Major wasn't sure whether there was enough time to clear the stadium and grounds of the estimated 220,000 tons of snow by Sunday.
The Bills on Wednesday said they would hire fans to shovel out the stadium for $10 per hour, plus free tickets, once the driving ban in Orchard Park was lifted.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he has told the Bills that he can not commit to providing sheriff's deputies for public safety at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"As of right now, this is to the Bills and the NFL, we have an emergency situation, a declared state of emergency, and Ralph Wilson Stadium is bearing the brunt of the snow right now. I cannot commit to emergency service personnel and sheriff's deputies being at the facility on Sunday," Poloncarz said.
The Buffalo Sabres announced Thursday that Friday's home game against the New York Rangers is postponed. No makeup date has been announced.
The Sabres issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
Due to the continuing weather-related difficulties in the Greater Buffalo area and out of respect for the fans of the Sabres, Friday’s game between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center, NHL Game No. 291, has been postponed.
A makeup date will be announced as soon as it can be confirmed.