Sunday, October 26, 2003
Wildfires force Chargers to move Monday game to Arizona
SAN DIEGO -- Wildfires in the San Diego area have
forced the Chargers to move Monday night's game against the
Miami Dolphins to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.
Originally scheduled to be played at Qualcomm Stadium, the game
now will be played at the home of the Arizona Cardinals.
Miami had traveled to San Diego on Sunday afternoon.
Wildfires in Southern California have burned at least 650 homes
and left 14 people dead. The fires stretch for miles and have
been fanned by fierce winds.
The parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium has been turned into a major
evacuation center as residents in surrounding neighborhoods
were ordered out of their homes by authorities.
The National Football League issued the following statement:
"The residents of greater San Diego are suffering from terrible
fires, and public health and safety are the urgent priorities.
The City of San Diego has advised us that under these
circumstances, Monday night's game between the San Diego
Chargers and Miami Dolphins cannot be played at Qualcomm
Stadium. "NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has directed that
Monday night's game be played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe,
Arizona, at 9:00 p.m. EST. This decision will allow San Diego
public safety agencies to maintain their full focus on
protecting the lives and property of San Diego residents."
San Diego mayor Dick Murphy had urged the NFL to either postpone
or move the game.
The Chargers issued the following statement on Sunday night:
"The hearts and prayers of the San Diego Chargers, the Miami
Dolphins and the entire National Football League go out to the
residents of greater San Diego who are suffering from these
"San Diego officials have determined, under the circumstances,
that Qualcomm Stadium will not be available ... We concur.
Public safety must now be our only priority."
Monday's game was supposed to mark the return of Junior Seau to
Perhaps the greatest defensive player in the Chargers' history,
Seau was selected to 12 Pro Bowls in 13 seasons as an outside
linebacker in San Diego.
But in March, the Chargers made the surprising decision by
turning the page on the Seau era when they allowed him to speak
to other teams. In April, the Dolphins acquired Seau for a
conditional pick in the 2004 draft.
Seau left quite a legacy with the Chargers and is tied for first
on San Diego's all-time list with 200 games, including 199
starts. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
All-Decade team for the 1990s and also was named Chargers MVP
each season from 1997-2001.