Barry Jackson

Dolphins ask about moving Oct. 1 game from London; NFL responds

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross signs the last piece of steel before it is erected for the stadium canopy on Friday, July 29, 2016 in Miami Gardens. During the topping out ceremony, Ross said the half-billion-dollar renovation project is right on schedule.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross signs the last piece of steel before it is erected for the stadium canopy on Friday, July 29, 2016 in Miami Gardens. During the topping out ceremony, Ross said the half-billion-dollar renovation project is right on schedule. mhalper@miamiherald.com

Even though the Miami Dolphins’ start to the season was disrupted by Hurricane Irma, the NFL dismissed inquiries by the Dolphins to move the Oct. 1 Saints game in London to Hard Rock Stadium.

“I asked,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Monday, via email. “It will be played in London.”

The Dolphins are playing only seven games in Miami this season in order to accommodate the NFL’s desire to schedule several games in England each season.

The Dolphins broached the possibility of moving the Saints game to Miami not only because Irma forced the postponement of this past Sunday’s opener against Tampa Bay, but also because the team is spending at least 10 days away from home in advance of next Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Dolphins are spending the week in Southern California and practicing at Oxnard, with a team meeting scheduled for Tuesday and its first practice slated for Wednesday.

In addition, the team has contingency plans to practice in West Virginia next week, as Armando Salguero reported, if their facility sustained structural damage. The team on Monday was making sure that Hard Rock Stadium didn’t sustain damage, as Adam Beasley writes.

The Dolphins play at the Jets on Sept. 24.

With Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, the NFL decided to move the Dolphins-Buccaneers game to Week 11, meaning the teams will have to play 16 games in a row.

Miami isn’t scheduled to play at Hard Rock Stadium until Oct. 8 against Tennessee. The postponed opener against Tampa Bay was rescheduled for Nov. 19 at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Dolphins game is one of four scheduled for London this season.

Miami’s Oct.1 game will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time and be televised nationally on Fox.

An NFL spokesman did not immediately respond when asked why the league would not allow the Oct. 1 game to be played in Miami.

The NFL has played three games in London in each season since 2014 but expanded it to four games this season. All previous London games have sold out.

"We continue to be incredibly excited by the passion and love for the NFL shown by our millions of UK fans," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement last December in announcing the addition of a fourth game in London in 2017. "London is an amazing city. We have had tremendous support from our fans, from Mayor Khan and other government leaders and business partners, and we are looking forward to taking the next step in the UK by playing four games in London next season."

Ross financed a charter flight to Los Angeles on Friday, with players, coaches and traveling parties permitted to bring family members. Ross is paying to send the family members back to South Florida at the appropriate time.

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