By Collin Giuliani// Sports Editor
Hurricane Florence wasn’t the first hurricane to impact the sporting landscape in the United States and it likely won’t be the last. Due to the storm, numerous events across athletics got moved or postponed. Here’s a brief history of hurricanes playing a role in sports over the years.
1992: Hurricane Andrew. When Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in Aug. 1992, it was, at the time, the costliest hurricane in the state’s history, causing over $25 billion in damages. The Miami Dolphins were scheduled to open their season at home against the New England Patriots. However, due to the aftermath of the hurricane, the game got postponed until week seven. This left the Dolphins and Patriots with a bye week on the first week of the season.
2004: Hurricanes Charley, Ivan and Jeanne. Three hurricanes impacted the NFL during the 2004 season. A preseason meeting between the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans initially scheduled for Aug. 14 got moved to Aug. 16 after Hurricane Charley, which caused 10 deaths and $16.9 billion in damage, hit Florida. A week one matchup between the Titans and Miami Dolphins got moved up from Sept. 12 to Sept.11 due to Hurricane Ivan, and a week three matchup on Sept. 26 between the Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers was played on Sunday night instead of Sunday afternoon due to Hurricane Jeanne.
2005: Hurricane Katrina. The most infamous hurricane in NFL history occurred in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina. Due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina, which included over 1,200 deaths and caused $125 billion in damages, the New Orleans Saints did not play a single home game at the Louisiana Superdome due to the damages to the stadium. That season, the Saints played one home game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, three home games at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and four home games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
2005: Hurricane Wilma. Hurricane Katrina wasn’t the only hurricane to impact the 2005 NFL season, as Hurricane Wilma hit the United States as a Category 3 hurricane, leading to 62 deaths and $19 billion in damage. The hurricane led to a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins getting moved from Oct. 23 to Oct. 21, leading to a rare NFL game played on a Friday night.
2008: Hurricane Ike. When Hurricane Ike touched down in 2008, at the time, it was the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane in history, only behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The hurricane significantly impacted the sports landscape in Houston. In MLB, a series between the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs was moved from Houston to Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A college football game between Houston and Air Force was moved to Dallas, and a game between Texas and Arkansas was rescheduled from Sept. 13 to Sept. 27. In the NFL, the Houston Texans had their entire schedule revamped because of the aftermath of the hurricane. A week two game between the Texans and Baltimore Ravens was moved to week 10, a week 10 game between the Texans and Cincinnati Bengals was moved to week eight, and the Texans received a bye week, alongside the Ravens, in week two.
2012: Hurricane Sandy. While no NFL games were canceled or rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, a week nine matchup between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers was in jeopardy at one point. The game between these two teams did not get moved. However, because the hotel where the Steelers were initially supposed to stay did not have any power due to the hurricane, the Steelers had to travel and play on the same day. NFL rules require teams to travel at least one day before the game, but an exception was made due to the impact of Sandy. When asked about why they didn’t look for another hotel, a senior Steelers official stated, “we just didn’t feel right about asking employees at any of the hotels down [in New Jersey] to start making a bunch of extra efforts to accommodate us, when so many of them are having issues themselves.”
2017: Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey caused over $125 billion in damages and led to 107 people dying. Every sports team playing in Houston at the time was impacted. In the NFL, the Houston Texans had to cancel their annual Governor’s Cup preseason match against the Dallas Cowboys, while in MLB, the Houston Astros moved their home series against the Texas Rangers to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. College football was impacted as well; a game at NRG Stadium in Houston between BYU and LSU was moved to New Orleans, and a game at the Alamodome in San Antonio between Houston and UTSA was canceled. J.J. Watt, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, raised $41.6 million for hurricane relief, making it the largest crowd-sourced fundraiser of all-time.
2017: Hurricane Irma. The most recent instance of hurricanes impacting sporting events came with Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida one year ago. In the NFL, a week one game between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers got rescheduled to week 11, making this the first time since 2001 that a team received a bye week on the first week of the season. In college football, multiple games got canceled, including games between South Florida and Connecticut, Miami (FL) and Arkansas State, and Florida and Northern Colorado. Additionally, multiple games got rescheduled, with a game between Central Florida and Memphis getting moved from Sept. 9 to Sept. 30, a game between Florida International and Alcorn State getting moved to Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, and a game between Florida State and Louisiana-Monroe getting moved to December. In baseball, a series between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees was moved from Tampa Bay to New York, where it was played at Citi Field. Additionally, multiple minor leagues canceled their championships, including the Carolina League, the Southern League and the Florida State League.
Hurricanes have impacted sporting events before, such as in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina forced the New Orleans Saints out of the Louisiana Superdome. Photo submitted