Weather expected to be terrible for Browns game, but what would it take to cancel it?
CLEVELAND, OH (CNN) - UPDATE:
Late Friday afternoon Cleveland 19 received this official statement from an NFL Spokesman:
As is our standard procedure, we are monitoring the forecast and will stay in close communication with the weather service and both clubs. As per NFL policy, in the case of inclement weather, specifically lightning, the referee has the authority to determine when it is appropriate to suspend play and clear the teams from the field. The NFL Game Day Operations Center is in constant communication with the referee and the on-site NFL Football Operations representative in order to communicate forecasts and severe weather warnings. These forecasts and warnings are issued by a third-party meteorological service specifically contracted to monitor inclement weather that could affect NFL games.
Earlier in the week it looked like the storm would stay to the west as it moved up through the middle part of the country.
But according to Cleveland Meteorologist Jeff Tanchak the system is heading to Cleveland to catch the game.
"The latest data I'm seeing this morning is calling for widespread five plus inches of rain, with locally seven plus inches," according to Tanchak. "The heavy rain will start late Saturday night. So that means all day Sunday and Sunday night we are looking at continuous heavy rain. Winds will be gusting up to 40 mph at times."
As if the forecast wasn't daunting enough, what Tanchal sees is a first for even him.
"I have not seen a worse weather forecast for a Browns game in the almost 16 years I have been here and that includes snow events. I have no idea how they will be able to play football or how people will be able to sit in that stadium and watch a game," Tanchak said.
Cleveland 19 has contacted the Browns front office and they are aware of the situation.
"Along with NFL headquarters, we closely monitor weather patterns each week to ensure game conditions are safe for the team and fans. Any decision impacting the game's start or continuation is ultimately made by the league office. The game is on schedule for 1 p.m.," according to a team spokesman.
Looking into NFL policy it does appear canceling the game could be a possibility.
Rule 17 Emergencies, Unfair Acts:
Article 4 The NFL affirms the position that in most circumstances all regular-season and postseason games should be played to their conclusion. If, in the opinion of appropriate League authorities, it is impossible to begin or continue a game due to an emergency, or a game is deemed to be imminently threatened by any such emergency (e.g., severely inclement weather, lightning, flooding, power failure)
The question that will have to be looked at by the league is whether or not five to seven inches of rain is considered "severely inclement weather."
We've seen many games over the years played in rain, multiple inches of snow and brutally cold temperatures so the definition of "severely inclement weather" must be pretty extreme.
The field is designed with a drainage system that can handle large amounts of rain but will it be able to handle Gordon will be tested and that will also be a consideration for player safety.
We have seen NFL games postponed before. In 2010 the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings game was postponed until Tuesday.
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