The best case scenario for the NFL and Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they monitor Hurricane Irma’s progress and threatened landfall in Florida? That the monster storm keeps heading west on its current track, and misses or merely grazes the state.
And if that happens late Saturday or early Sunday there can still be a regular-season opener for the Dolphins and Bucs played at Hard Rock Stadium on Monday night.
Simple as that.
That possibility has been discussed. That dream contingency is in play.
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That’s why the NFL on Tuesday didn’t immediately announce rescheduling the game that was supposed to be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. and probably will not be doing so before Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest.
All the NFL did was announce the Sunday game won’t be played Sunday. And that makes absolute perfect sense. That is absolutely the right call.
For the sake of doing what is best for the community, which is clearly the top priority for the Dolphins in this matter, and not closing off avenues that might come available later when more information is known, the NFL risked seeming squeamish about its decision-making process on this matter.
It didn’t boldly change the venue. It didn’t absolutely postpone and delay the game until Nov. 19 when both teams were originally scheduled to have bye weeks.
The NFL is being wise. The Dolphins are being wise. The Buccaneers are being wise.
Their hope is we’re going to be watching football Monday night in the same place the game was supposed to be played Sunday afternoon.
That, I must repeat, is the absolute best-case scenario. That is the answer that would suit just about everyone -- from the teams to the league to, most importantly, the community.
Because that would mean all the media frenzy about the killer storm lurking out there ready to come to your exact address and ruin your life didn’t exactly play out as scripted. Please, God, let this be how it happens.
I am a member of the media. Proudly so.
And I would love to be part of profession that is roundly mocked for warning about a storm that never plowed us asunder as expected but instead kept steaming through the Florida Straits, past Key West and into the Gulf.
But there are the other possibilities, which unfortunately, I must report to you are filled with potentially devastating outcomes. And these dwarf football in its importance.
Suppose the short-range forecast on Wednesday or Thursday indeed shows South Florida is the target of this devilish storm. Then I suggest to you, my South Florida brethren, do anything and everything you can to protect yourselves and your loved ones first. Yes, protect property, too but you and not your property should be the priority.
The Dolphins and Bucs will be hurt but recover if their fans are displaced. Chances are good they’ll mount some rally to try to offer you aid, as the Houston Texans have done.
But the Dolphins and Bucs and all of us will be devastated if even one fan is lost forever. There is no recovery from that.
So protect yourselves above everything. That’s the priority.
By the way, I get it, you are reading this column because you care about sports. Because you want to know about your football teams.
I have a message for you as told to me by multiple Dolphins people: Make sure, I was told, to please tell the fans we care more about them and their safety than about anything else.
Game status much later.
And now that you know the priorities, let me address the game status in the worst-case scenario: You know the NFL might postpone the game until Week 11 because that’s when both teams share a bye week. Both teams dislike that option. It creates a competitive disadvantage for them because it means they must play 16 consecutive games.
The teams also don’t love the idea of moving the game’s venue. And this is a much less likely scenario because imagine coaches telling their players, whose families and homes also might be ravaged by the storm, to leave town so they can play a game? No one wants to give that order.
So barring the best-case scenario of a Monday night game in a South Florida blessed because the storm missed us, there are no good options.
So pray for the best-case scenario. Pray Irma misses like an errant pass from a third-string quarterback.
Pray -- because of what it would mean for the greater community -- that the Dolphins and Bucs can go at it Monday night.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero