The New Orleans Saints are slated to play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to open the 2020 season, but there is a slight issue. The Saints don’t actually have permission yet to host a football game this Sunday.
The state of Louisiana is technically still in phase 2 of their Covid-19 protocol, and that phase does not allow for football. It has resulted in the Saints organization negotiating with the state to figure out if they’ll be able to play at the Superdome on Sunday.
So again: No Hs football, and top medical officer in #Nola @CityOfNOLA had no idea how @GreenWaveFB is practicing and said @Saints are dealing with state to play in the city on Sunday, as phase 2 prevents @nfl football in New Orleans. @wdsu https://t.co/yIyansYUmi— Travers Mackel (@TraversWDSU) September 10, 2020
It’s worth noting, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced on Thursday the state will move to phase 3 on Friday. It is not fully clear what that will allow for, but with the Saints negotiating to play, they are likely also not entirely clear on their options.
NFL teams are expected to travel to host cities the day before a game, and so the Bucs have likely not yet left Tampa Bay. The worst case scenario would likely result in the Saints flying to Tampa to play the game, although a neutral site could become an option. For the time being though, the Saints will look to work this out with the state.
We’ll update on Friday as more information about phase 3 becomes clear.