(Reuters) - The National Football League game between the New York Jets and the homestanding Bills will be shifted from Buffalo to Detroit on Monday due to the heavy snow that has paralyzed the area, the league said on Thursday.
“Due to public safety concerns in light of the ongoing weather emergency in western New York, Sunday’s Jets-Bills game has been rescheduled to Monday night at 7 p.m. ET (0000 GMT) and relocated to Ford Field in Detroit,” the NFL said in a statement.
“Public safety resources in western New York must be fully available to deal with the recovery from the storm.”
The NFL decision came after the National Hockey League announced that Friday’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and the visiting New York Rangers had been postponed due to the snow.
Snowbound residents, who had been socked by five feet of snow in some areas earlier this week, awoke to another foot of accumulation on Thursday with the possibility of a further 30 inches (76 cm) expected.
Bills players have been unable to practice this week, forced to stay home by travel restrictions imposed by local authorities.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier on Thursday that holding the Bills game in Buffalo would be impractical because many roads were either cut off or dangerous to drive.
At least eight deaths have been blamed on the wintry blast.
“While Ford Field could have hosted the game on Sunday, in order to give the Bills as much practice time as possible under the circumstances, the decision to play on Monday night was made,” the NFL said.
The Lions’ practice facility will be available to the Bills on Friday and moving the game to Monday night will enable the Bills to practice on Friday and Saturday and have their walk-through on Sunday, the league added.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said shifting the game would not affect his team.
“We would just aim our plane in a different direction, I guess,” he joked after his team’s practice. “We’ll be ready to go one way or the other.”
Detroit has stepped in previously for a weather-related move.
Ford Field was used for the Minnesota Vikings game against the New York Giants on Dec. 13, 2010, one day later than scheduled after Minnesota’s Metrodome roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow.
Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Gene Cherry