BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that it would be “impractical” at this time for the Buffalo Bills to host the New York Jets on Sunday because of a lake-effect snowstorm that continues to hit the region.
Cuomo spoke after spending the past day touring communities south of Buffalo, including the Bills home in Orchard Park. The storm has dumped more than 5 feet of snow since Monday night, with another 1 to 2 feet projected to fall by Friday.
“If you ask me today, right now, my sense is it’s impractical to do the game because it would jeopardize public safety,” Cuomo said. “Everybody would love to see a Bills game go forward, but I think even more, everybody wants to make sure public safety comes first.”
The decision to postpone or potentially relocate the game rests with the NFL. The league has been in constant contact with the Bills since the storm began, but has not yet announced a decision on the game’s status. One report said it could be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday night.
The Bills can’t even hold practices because their players are snowed in, and those that can get out can’t get to the team’s facility because of a driving ban in place in Orchard Park and many of its neighboring communities.
As a result, the Bills canceled practice for a second straight day on Thursday.
Cuomo said the road ban wouldn’t be reassessed until after the next snowfall.
“We don’t want to open any roads and create another problem,” he said. “Even after that, we still have a melting situation this weekend.”
On Wednesday, Bills Vice President of Operations Andy Major wasn’t sure whether there was enough time to clear the stadium and grounds of the estimated 220,000 tons of snow by Sunday.
Many roads are impassible and a driving ban remains in place in many of the communities south and east of downtown Buffalo.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also cast doubt on whether the game can be played on time. Poloncarz said the county’s emergency services are already stretched thin in dealing with the storm that he can’t commit to them staffing the game Sunday.
The county is responsible for providing sheriff deputies for security at Bills home games.
Starting guard Kraig Urbik is among the Bills players who are snowed in.
“Any chance my street gets plowed today,” Urbik posted on his Twitter account Thursday morning. “Or are we stuck here till Saturday?”
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