The California fires are wrecking havoc on the West Coast and creating a very dangerous environment that has already caused a tragic amount of life to be lost. Football is obviously secondary to safety, but the NFL is monitoring the situation ahead of Week 10, with multiple games set to be played in the state of California.
The Chargers and Raiders are scheduled play in Oakland on Sunday, while the Seahawks and Rams are going toe-to-toe in Los Angeles. Both games are in the 4 p.m. ET window.
“We are monitoring conditions in California and are in close communication with the clubs and local authorities,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “At this point, both the Los Angeles Chargers-Oakland Raiders game and the Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams game will kick off as scheduled.”
The Rams already cancelled their practice on Friday as a result of the air quality, with Sean McVay saying he preferred to have the players be with their families instead of the team.
“We just felt like, most importantly, it was for the guys to be with their families, their wives, their kids, and kind of be with that support structure and do things the right way and not have them come in and be totally distracted,” McVay told reporters on a conference call.
According to the Rams, about 50 different members of the organization have been forced to evacuate as a result of the fires.
If you look at the map of the fires, the Rams should be fine in terms of actual physical safety from the fires while playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
And the same is true for the Raiders’ game at home.
But these dangerous fires are spreading rapidly and creating serious air quality conditions. It might be the case where either or both games are located in spots with bad air quality.
The NFL typically does not move games for issues with Mother Nature, but certainly this is a situation where the league would be willing to change their plans based on quickly shifting weather conditions.