The air quality index in Santa Clara has deteriorated, not improved.
As of 7:00 pm ET, AQI in Santa Clara was at 199 due to a wildfire at AEA. This is only one point below the level at which the NFL would unsafe the conditions. (Earlier in the day it was above 200.)
The situation and forecast for the region has changed dramatically in the past. By Thursday, AQI was expected to be in the 80s for Sunday.
The NFL’s policy on this issue is as follows:
“Air quality is an important aspect of a safe sports day environment. Several factors can affect air quality including temperature, humidity, local pollution from combustion engines, wildfires, volcanic activity and industrial accidents. The greatest health risk occurs when the level of Particulate Matter rises to a level that can irritate the airways and cause breathing problems, especially during exercise.
“The most widely accepted scientific assessment measure for air quality is the Air Quality Index (‘AQI’). Medical experts have generally agreed that the AQI that measures more than 200 continuously in the area around the stadium is very Indicates unhealthy conditions in which vigorous exercise is not recommended. AQI is easily measured and widely available to the public through media sources.
“The NFL Football Operations Department will initiate contingency planning when smoke emanating from a widespread fire or other pollutants presents a significant health hazard in an area or adjacent area of an NFL stadium hosting a game. The NFL Football Operations Department will monitor the website http://AirNow.Gov, which provides real-time AQI data and was developed by the EPA and other federal and state agencies. In addition to the http://AirNow.Gov website, the NFL Football Operations Department will consult with their contracted meteorological service and agencies within the affected area and obtain hourly AQI measurements from agencies that agencies use to measure AQI Huh. In many instances, local air quality fluctuates depending on meteorological conditions. NFL football operations will also be consulted with the Chief Medical Officer of the NFL and other medical advisors, as may be deemed
Helpful in obtaining medical input on air conditions and potential medical implications. Accordingly, NFL Football will work closely with Operation Home Club and local authorities and will be prepared to move a game if there is definitive evidence that the AQI will remain consistently above 200, including the day of the game. Played at the affected stadium. ”
Coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the situation during the press conference on Friday.
“I try not to worry about things I’m not involved in.” He said, ‘So I am trying to prepare my team to play this game. I’m sure the NFL has had some discussions with other people, not any coaches, I don’t think. No [Arizona Cardinals coach] Kliff [Kingsbury] Or I. So we are getting ready for this game. If it’s at 200, I know how to proceed when they decide whether we play or not, but I’m not really sure about contingency plans. ”
The easiest fix is flipping home games, sending the contest to Arizona with the Week 16 rematch to be held in Santa Clara. However, this would put 49 people on the road for the first three games of the season and this would lead to five out of four home games to end the season. Likewise, it would give the Cardinals three straight home games to start the season, and five of the last seven games on the road.
Another possibility (as we see it) would be to carry the game until Monday night, when a low AQI is in the forecast.