GREEN BAY, Wis. – With Hurricane Ida bringing flooding and disaster to New Orleans, the NFL announced on Monday it has moved the season-opening game between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints on Sept. 12 to Jacksonville.
TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, will host the game. The stadium’s capacity is 67,164.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said he learned of the decision on Wednesday morning.
“They worked with us but, with this being a New Orleans home game, there wasn’t a lot of say from our view,” Gutekunst said. “Loved to have had it here, though. Would have been nice.”
The game will be played, as scheduled, at 3:25 p.m. and be broadcast on Fox.
The Saints are preparing at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and will travel to Jacksonville the day before the game.
Getting Douglas Instead of Gilmore Has Worked Out for Packers
It's time to revisit Oct. 6, when the Green Bay Packers pursued former All-Pro Stephon Gilmore but instead announced the signing of Rasul Douglas.
Jones Shows Peril of Second-Contract Running Backs
With a new contract, Aaron Jones has been good. He just hasn't been great. Here's a look at Jones and the NFL's other high-paid running backs.
"I am proud of the collective communications that occurred between many entities in a short amount of time that led to us making this decision," Saints owner Gayle Benson said. "It is never easy to make a decision that involves not playing a Saints home game in the Caesars Superdome, but I am confident that this is the right decision for our city at this juncture. Collectively, we have a monumental task ahead of us in cleaning up the after effects left by Hurricane Ida, but it has been inspiring to see people getting right to work and starting the process."
The decision for this game was made, the NFL stated, “in consultation with state and local officials and both clubs, in the interest of public safety.” While the Superdome did not suffer any structural damage, most of the city of New Orleans remains without power.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said “our thoughts are with everyone” in New Orleans. While the lack of crowd noise will be a positive, it’s “hard to simulate" the heat the team will face.
The forecast, indeed, is miserable. According to Weather.com, the forecast for Sept. 12 is sunny with a high of 89. With 69 percent humidity, that equates to a “feels like” temperature of 102.
The Packers won at Jacksonville 27-23 on Sept. 11, 2016. It was 90 degrees at kickoff that day. Green Bay won at New Orleans 37-30 last year with zero fans in attendance due to COVID-19 protocols.
Details on tickets and other specifics, including how fans can continue to help in the recovery effort, will be announced in the days ahead, the league stated.