Despite the heavy snow fall that has rocked Orchard Park and other parts of Western New York, the Buffalo Bills are proceeding as if they will face the New York Jets, as scheduled, at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, a team spokesman said today.
Any change to that plan, according to Bills senior vice president of communications Scott Berchtold, would be for the NFL to decide.
“We are working with the Bills to determine the status of the stadium,” a league spokesman told The Buffalo News today. “If a change to the schedule needs to be made, the league will make the decision, working closely with the club and local authorities.”
Andy Major, the Bills’ vice president of operations and guest experience, said the team “was going to be evaluating this every hour on the hour and seeing how we’re progressing so we can keep in touch with the league, with the county, and the state on what’s going on.”
In the meantime, the Bills are embarking on an unprecedented effort to remove an estimated 220,000 tons of snow from Ralph Wilson Stadium. It has put out a call to anyone interested in being paid $10 per hour and receiving game tickets to man a shovel to get The Ralph ready for Sunday’s game. Those interested in joining what a team official said would be a 24-hour-a-day operation are asked to call 716-636-4840 (Note: if an "out-of-service" message is heard, it is due to the line being bombarded).
“We’re hoping to have over 500 shovelers,” Major said. “We will definitely not be turning away anyone that’s interested in shoveling snow.”
Due to a driving ban in Orchard Park, the Bills did not conduct their regularly scheduled practice on Wednesday, as players, along with other members of the organization, were unable to travel to One Bills Drive.
Coach Doug Marrone and his assistant coaches are at the facility going through their preparations for the Jets’ game. Marrone said technology allows the team to remotely get video and all other pre-game materials into the hands of players.
Marrone said the priority in communicating with the players is their “safety, making sure everyone’s safe and making sure they're abiding by the rules, obviously, with the driving ban.”
“Obviously, it’s a great challenge,” Marrone said of preparing for a game under the extreme weather conditions. “We’re not going to put any of our players, coaches, support staff, anyone in any type of jeopardy. We’re monitoring that, and waiting for the word for when we can start to operate when we normally would.”
When the team would be able to conduct a practice this week is unknown.