One of the 15 games scheduled for this weekend was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, which was to be played at Raymond James Stadium at 1:00 p.m.
Despite players and coaches being divided on the issue on Wednesday, the NFL appeared to be leaning toward playing the games this weekend. But the NFL decided on Thursday afternoon that going ahead with its 15 game schedule this weekend after Tuesday's tragic events in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh had more negatives aspects than positives. The fact that the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers all had scheduled home games this weekend probably played a big part in coming to their final decision. The postponement was the first for non-strike reasons by the NFL in their history.
The NFL has not announced whether this weekend's games have been canceled or just postponed. They have discussed two different scenarios.
The first would be canceling this weekend's games and just playing a 15-game season. Another possible option would be making up this weekend's games during the Wild Card Weekend and eliminating those four playoff spots (two teams in each conference).
Not only will the Buccaneers not play this weekend, but they will also not play next weekend due to their scheduled bye week.
"We've got to go into a training camp mode," said head coach Tony Dungy. "We'll practice against ourselves for a couple of weeks and then whenever we come back, we've got to be ready to play."
Despite the NFL canceling this weekend's games, Dungy felt his team was focused on playing the Eagles on Sunday until the league came to a decision.
"We had a good practice yesterday," said Dungy. "I think everybody took the approach that we were going to get ready to play until they tell us we're not playing. Now that we're not playing, we will refocus and get our attention back to fundamentals and then we'll wait to hear."
Dungy admitted he was a bit surprised when he and the team found out they were not going to be playing Sunday, but in the end, he agreed with the decision.
"With all of the things that had to go into it and all the problems there would have been with playing and the things that are still going on, I think it was the right decision," said Dungy. "I don't know that there's ever going to be a great time to start back playing, whether it's Monday, Wednesday or two weeks from now. But whenever it is, I think the NFL will be ready to play and we'll put on a good show."
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