The Buffalo Bills are supposed to play the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California on December 7. New restrictions in Santa Clara will mean that game is going to be moved as a three-week ban on contact sports at the high school, college, and professional levels is being implemented through December 21.
Buffalo has already had two of their games moved due to coronavirus concerns earlier this season. After a COVID-19 outbreak on the Tennessee Titans, the Bills’ game on October 11 was pushed to Tuesday, October 13. Their Thursday night contest on October 15 was moved to the following Monday, October 19. The Bills went 0-2 in those games.
No alternative sites have been floated yet and certainly no decisions have been made. The game is the next at home for the 49ers.
Around the NFL and around the country, COVID-19 cases have surged recently as temperatures have dropped and gatherings have moved indoors. The Baltimore Ravens have placed 18 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Buffalo’s only player on the list is TE Tommy Sweeney, who developed myocarditis following his COVID-19 infection and is out for the season. San Francisco has six players on their COVID-19 list right now including OT Trent Williams.
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Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Arizona Cardinals have reached out to the 49ers about hosting them for the final month of the season. That is the most likely option for the movement of the game.
Another option is to play in an NFL stadium in Texas.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk pegged Arizona months ago as the most likely destination because the two teams don’t play home games on the same day.
“An NFL stadium becomes critical to this equation because of the technology linking each stadium to the league office, allowing for real-time replay reviews,” writes Florio. “The quality of the playing surface also is an issue.”
Florio also brings up another interesting point: 49ers players should be allowed to opt out again. Moving from Santa Clara to Arizona for a month is a substantial burden on players and families. We’ll see if the NFLPA pushes for that because ultimately they’ll have to sign off on the deal.