The NFL has announced that they've cancelled Thursdays Houston Texans vs Dallas Cowboys game to allow the Houston players to return home to their family in the flood-ravaged city. The team has been practicing in Arlington, where the game was scheduled to be played, but have found a safe route back to Houston sooner than they had expected. The players will be heading home today.
The NFL's statement reads:
"At this time, the priority of our organization is getting our players, coaches and staff back home to be reunited with their families, many of whom have been evacuated from their homes and are currently sheltered. The team feels it is imperative to get back home to help the Houston community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey."
Tickets for the game went on sale Tuesday, with plans for the proceeds to go to Hurricane Harvey relief funds. Over 40,000 tickets have already sold and refunds are being offered. Any refunds not collected will still go to the relief funds.
Bob McNair and his family, the owners of the Texans, has said that they will donate an equal amount to what the game would've raised. The game had originally been scheduled to play in Houston's NRG stadium but was moved earlier in the week because of the flooding. The Texans went straight to Dallas on Sunday after their game in New Orleans.
Texans player J.J. Watt was asked about the game being a good distraction for the people of Houston:
"No. I think the only good thing that could possibly come out of a game on Thursday would be a massive fundraiser. That's about the best-case scenario that could some from a game on Thursday is if it raised multi-millions of dollars. This is bigger than football. It's bigger than a game. It's bigger than any of us. So we need to make sure that we're thinking about these victims and the city of Houston before anything else."
Watt took to social media to try and raise money for flood relief and found he's needed to raise the goal multiple times. As of right now, he's pulled in $6 million and has set the goal at $10 million. He started with $100,000 of his own money and had hoped to double it with donations. McNair has already donated $1 million before promising to cover the money that the game would've raised. The NFL Foundation has also matched the $1 Million from the Texans. Other teams, including the Houston Rockets, Houston Astros and Dallas Cowboys, have donated.
NRG Stadium took in over 10,000 flood victims. The game will not be made up, as it is only a preseason game. But it will give both teams one less opportunity to see their player perform in a game before having to make final cuts to a 53-man roster.