13 September, 2017
"Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction throughout the entire state of Florida".
Both teams had a bye scheduled for that weekend, meaning both teams will play 16 games in a row this season.
As Tampa Bay works to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, there was good news Tuesday, as the Bucs announced that they would play host to the Bears as scheduled on Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
"After thorough inspection by engineers, it has been deemed that Hard Rock Stadium experienced no structural damage from Irma", Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel tweeted.
Florida Atlantic is targeting a Wednesday return to its campus in Boca Raton, and is still hoping to play its scheduled home game Saturday against Bethune-Cookman.
"Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days", said Buccaneers COO Brian Ford, via the team's official website.
After assessing Raymond James Stadium and the rest of the facilities, the NFL, Tampa Bay Sports Authority and entire Bucs organization have decided that the game will still take place at Ray Jay on Sunday.
The Bears are playing for a third straight season in Tampa, with the Buccaneers earning a 36-10 rout last November at Raymond James Stadium.
The Dolphins' first game at the stadium will be October 8.
Florida (0-1) canceled its home opener last week against Northern Colorado because of the hurricane.
The storm was on a collision course with the Tampa area, site of the team's game with the Buccaneers this coming Sunday.
The storm, which was almost the size of Texas, brought hurricane-force winds to Naples, Miami and Palm Beach, all the way up to Tampa and Orlando, with record floods in Jacksonville, Charleston and Savannah.