Air Quality Remains Concern for Seahawks-Patriots on Sunday Night


As deadly wildfires continue to burn along the west coast, including in the state of Washington, the NFL continues to monitor air quality concerns heading towards Sunday's prime time Week 2 matchup between the Seahawks and Patriots.

Last week, forecasts suggested air quality would improve in the state of Washington. But as MLB's Mariners found out, those models aren't always accurate, as both of their scheduled home games against the Giants were postponed and with conditions failing to improve, the two-game series was moved to San Francisco. Further reports indicate they will shift a three-game series against the Padres from T-Mobile Park to Petco Park.

On Wednesday, with smoke still lingering over the Seattle area and air quality remaining poor, the Seahawks opted to practice inside at the VMAC. Coach Pete Carroll indicated the team remains in "direct connection" with the NFL assessing the situation.

"Hopefully we get a good shift in the weather here by the weekend," Carroll said. "Looks like it could change tomorrow some and into the weekend. We're very cognizant of it and working to figure it out."

Per the Weather Channel's air quality index, Seattle currently has a 133 score, which is deemed "unhealthy" and advises for limited outdoor activity. Their model shows similar index scores for this weekend, though as the past few days have shown, anything could happen between now and Sunday.

This isn't a new situation for the NFL, as last weekend, the league had to keep a close eye on air quality problems in San Francisco, as California has been ravaged by fires across the state. Luckily, conditions improved enough by Sunday that the 49ers and Cardinals were able to play their scheduled NFC West matchup without a hitch.

In the event smoke remains in Seattle by this weekend and air quality index numbers don't improve much, league officials will have to consider postponement options. There's always the possibility the game could be played on Monday instead of Sunday, though it's unlikely conditions would change enough in 24 hours for that to happen. It's also possible the game could be moved to Foxboro to keep the scheduled time in a similar fashion to what the Mariners have done.

More plausibly, the Seahawks and Patriots could have their game rescheduled for Week 6, as both teams share the same bye week. While these types of schedule changes are rare in the NFL, it wouldn't be unprecedented, as the Dolphins and Buccaneers recently had a game moved to their respective bye weeks in 2017 when Hurricane Irma struck the state of Florida.

All options remain on the table, but for now, Carroll and the Seahawks are continuing to prep with hope conditions continue to improve in the next few days, allowing the game to take place at CenturyLink Field as scheduled.