[Topeka Capital-Journal] A defiant Dick Vermeil insists that his Kansas City Chiefs will make the best of what they hope will be only a one-day excursion into a potential disaster zone.
The Chiefs learned Thursday morning that their Sunday game in Miami had been moved to tonight in order to beat the anticipated weekend arrival of Hurricane Wilma in south Florida.
That meant the club was given only 24 hours notice to complete their game planning, pack their equipment, secure an aircraft and prepare for a 9 a.m. flight today into an area many people are evacuating.
It will be, team president Carl Peterson said, the first time an NFL team has flown on the day of a road game. NFL rules generally require a visiting team to arrive at the game site a day in advance.
“Our attitude is that they couldn’t have picked a better team to send down there,” Vermeil added. “We’re going down there to play our best game of the year. Our guys are in a good frame of mind. They accepted this. We would have liked this to be different, but we had no say.”
Like a western Kansas high school team on a typical road trip, the Chiefs will travel 3 1/2 hours to Miami, hold a pre-game meal and depart for the stadium. It’s hardly the typical NFL pre-game routine.
“It puts us at a competitive disadvantage,” Peterson said. “It’s a lot to ask a team to fly 3 1/2 hours on the day of a regular-season game. It’s difficult, but we’ll do it because the NFL wants us to.”
How the Chiefs players are handling the change won’t be known until tonight. Vermeil put his players off limits to the media following the last of their Thursday meetings.
Peterson offered Arrowhead as an alternate site, but the NFL was reluctant to deny Miami both the financial gate and the competitive advantage of a home game. Discussions about a neutral site, possibly in Atlanta, never really took off.