Sat., Sept. 13: Ravens-Texans Game Rescheduled For Nov. 9
By Joe Platania
Saturday, September 13, 2008
When it comes to home openers, the Houston Texans have far fewer good memories than the Baltimore Ravens do.
The Ravens have the Jacksonville comeback, Jamal Lewis' 295-yard game, Art Modell with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and many more.
The Texans have blowout losses to the likes of Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Philadelphia... but they at least got to play those games.
Because of heavy roof damage to Reliant Stadium caused by Hurricane Ike -- five sections of the nine-panel retractable covering are gone -- the Ravens-Texans Monday-night game, scheduled to be the Texans' home opener, will not take place.
Instead, the game has been rescheduled for November 9, the Ravens' previously-scheduled bye week.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been impacted by this hurricane," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.
"We will adjust."
It creates a situation where, due to Houston's home game with Cincinnati on that date being moved to its October 26 bye, the Texans will have four straight home games on its revised schedule while the Ravens will have a three-game road trip.
Hurricane Ike, a Category 2 storm, had sustained winds of over 110 miles per hour and caused considerable flooding in the low-lying Houston and Galveston areas.
The league wanted the Ravens-Texans game to be played this weekend, but even if the Texans only had to travel to the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans or Atlanta's Georgia Dome, the airport closures in the area pushed their game against the Ravens -- who had been scheduled to fly south on Sunday -- to the later date.
As it stands, Week Two has turned out to be a bye week for both teams.
Because of the rescheduled game date, the Ravens will now have three straight road games for the first time since the 2000 Super Bowl season.
That year, the Ravens opened with five of their first seven away from home, including a three-game road swing through Cleveland, Jacksonville and Washington.
Those just happened to be three of the five games during which the Ravens did not score a touchdown; Baltimore won two of those three games.
Meanwhile, Houston now has AFC South Division games at Tennessee and Jacksonville to deal with and does not have a home game scheduled until October 5, when the Indianapolis Colts come to town.
Even if Reliant Stadium isn't repaired by then, a fallback alternative could be Rice Stadium, an on-campus facility that was home to the Miami Dolphins' 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII.
Rice is also the alma mater of Ravens' player development director OJ Brigance, subject of a PressBox cover story this week.
After the Indianapolis game, previously-scheduled home contests with Miami and Detroit come next, followed by the makeup against the Bengals.
Cincinnati's bye week moves from October 26 to November 9.
Even though the rescheduled date cuts down on the chances that something like this could happen again, it bears noting that the Atlantic-Gulf hurricane season, which begins June 1, doesn't end until November 30.
Natural disasters and schedule changes aren't foreign to the NFL.
Hurricane Jeanne forced a Miami Dolphins home game to be moved to Monday in 2004 and Southern California wildfires forced the San Diego Chargers to give up a home game several years ago.
Also, the same San Francisco Bay area earthquake that struck during the 1989 World Series forced a 49ers-New England Patriots game to be moved from Candlestick Park to Stanford Stadium, site of Super Bowl XIX.
This is the fourth time in Ravens history that a scheduled game has either not been played or been played to completion due to other factors.
In 2001, the team's preseason opener at Philadelphia was cancelled and never rescheduled due to inadequate turf at the now-demolished Veterans Stadium.
A few weeks later, the Ravens were to play a Week Two home Monday-night game against the Minnesota Vikings, but the 9/11 terrorist attacks pushed that game into the final week of the season in early January.
Last year, a preseason contest at FedEx Field against the Washington Redskins was called off midway through the third quarter due to a lightning storm.
A scrimmage at that same stadium was halted for the same reason in 2000.