NFL Neutral-Site Games Prove There’s No Place Like Home

Ralph Wilson Stadium

Upwards of seven feet of snow wreaked havoc on the Buffalo area earlier this week, forcing the Bills and Jets to play Sunday’s game against one another on Monday night at Detroit’s Ford Field.

The Bills did their best to assure the game would be played at home, even offering fans $10 per hour and free tickets to try and shovel the snow blanketing the stadium. But with the roads still a mess and public safety a concern, the NFL was left with no choice but to move the game to a neutral location.

Aside from the Super Bowl and international games scheduled by the league, neutral-site games are uncommon in the NFL, though there have been a few of them in recent years.

December 13, 2010: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings

This weekend won’t be the first time snow resulted in a game being relocated to Detroit.

On the morning of December 12, 2010, snow caused the Metrodome’s roof to collapse just hours before the Giants were scheduled to take on the Vikings. The next night, New York crushed Minnesota, 21-3, at Ford Field

The Vikings played their final home game at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium – which also serves as the Vikings’ current home while they await the completion of the team’s new stadium.

2005: New Orleans Saints

The damage Hurricane Katrina inflicted on the city of New Orleans resulted in the Saints playing home games at three different locations during the 2005 regular season.

The Giants were considered the road team at their own stadium when they took on the Saints in Week 2, and New Orleans played four home games in LSU’s Tiger Stadium and three at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The displaced Saints had just one win at “home” on the year en route to a 3-13 record.

October 27, 2003: Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers

Wildfires raged through southern California in 2003, filling the air with smoke and turning the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium into an evacuation center.

At the Mayor of San Diego’s request, the NFL moved the game to another site – Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium.

Miami beat San Diego in Tempe, 26-10.

author avatar
Neil Bisman
Neil Bisman is a New York native who studied history at the University of Florida so he could attend college football and basketball games for free. Neil has written for NBC New York, the Arena Football League and other notable outlets. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');