“The Cardinals organization, State Farm Stadium and League officials have been supportive and accommodating as we work through the many logistical issues involved in relocating NFL games,” the 49ers said in a written statement.
The 49ers become the first NFL team forced to move because of applicable state or local coronavirus guidelines. Santa Clara County announced new heath restrictions Saturday that include a temporary ban on contact sports at the professional, collegiate and youth levels.
Jed York, the chief executive officer of the 49ers, thanked the Cardinals and their owner, Michael Bidwill, on Twitter and wrote: “Very appreciative of Arizona welcoming us during these unprecedented times.”
The 49ers did not specify where they will practice, saying that their “future practice arrangements will be shared at the appropriate time.” The NFL previously told teams in a memo that all team facilities will be closed Monday and Tuesday, citing rising coronavirus caseloads nationally and Thanksgiving gatherings. Teams playing games Monday and Tuesday were exempt.
So the 49ers will need a practice site by Wednesday or perhaps Thursday to begin on-field preparations for next Monday night’s game against the Bills.
The 49ers have a scheduled road game Dec. 26 at Arizona. So three of their next four games will be in the same stadium. They did not announce a plan for their final scheduled home game of the regular season, Jan. 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. The prohibition on contact sports in Santa Clara County is temporary and may expire by then.
The NFL and the 49ers had been aware for months about the possibility of new restrictions being imposed by the county and had contingency plans in place, a person familiar with the deliberations said Saturday. There were reports about Dallas and San Diego also being possible sites for 49ers’ home games. York said that the San Diego mayor’s office had offered to help.
“While we wish we could keep our players at/close to home with their families during the holidays, that is currently not viable,” York wrote on Twitter.