Published on September 24th, 2013 | by HubSM Contributor0
NFL Lightning Delays Provide Strange Start to Season
MLB encounters weather delays all the time, usually because of rain. It is usually the only major sport greatly affected by the weather. Rarely even snow or severe fog will stop a football game. But lately that hasn’t held true.
College football season started at the end of August and the National Football League kicked off just a week later. Only a few weeks in, weather has already played a major role. But it hasn’t been a factor in the way you might expect. We haven’t seen sloppy games played on muddy, rain-soaked fields.
Instead, we have seen numerous delays in both the college and NFL schedules due to lightning in the proximity of stadiums. Some games have started late, while others have been suspended after play began.
Weather delays of this kind are usually lengthy because regulations usually require a certain amount of time to pass without another lighting strike in the area after the storm has passed. The opening game to the NFL season between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens was delayed just 34 minutes. However, there have been other, much longer delays.
It has to be difficult for the players to refocus after these types of delays, especially if the weather hits after the game has started. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers played almost the entire first quarter in their Sunday night match-up prior to a lengthy lightning delay. Whether it is due to two stingy defenses sharing the same field, the game proved to be rather lackluster after the delay.
Only the players are required to move to safety so there isn’t much they can do to stay loose during a weather delay. These delays can change the course of a game and destroy a team’s momentum.
It isn’t great for the fans either, as they have to find shelter or sit out in the rain. Those who have brought kids to the game may have to leave before the finish due to the time. Even the fans at home suffer the effects as the broadcasts are often filled with a lot of nothing during these delays.
Of course, teams always advise fans to seek shelter. But in the case of the Michigan State Spartans’ basketball coach Tom Izzo actually had to promise to sit in the student section once their season opener resumed from a lightning delay. The students simply refused to move until Izzo got on the mic and urged them to seek the safety of shelter.
Strange things are happening in the world of football. I can’t remember this many weather delays in this short of a time period so it is definitely strange. Week two alone saw two NFL games delayed by weather and college football has seen several more in its first three weeks.
The NFL season always brings unexpected and wild events. But I don’t think anybody saw this coming. And fall isn’t here yet so we may be far from finished with lightning delays. It almost has me wishing for winter just so I can be assured, short of a blizzard, that football games will kick off on time.
There is no explanation for the number of lightning delays already in the young season other than just a lot of coincidence and bad timing. While it is fortunate the NCAA and NFL look out for player safety, it is always so much better when games kick off on time.
While it hasn’t been much fun for most players, at least some people are taking it well. A Skip Bayless parody account tweeted earlier today: “SOURCES: God says he will not stop lightning delays until Tim Tebow is back in the NFL.”
The season has certainly gotten off to a strange start due to the weather. But strange things tend to happen in the NFL and after all of these delays, I am ready for a roller coaster ride of a season and to expect the unexpected.