RENTON — Rain that is predicted for Seattle on Friday could make concerns about air quality during Sunday night’s Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field a moot point.
That’s the hope of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, anyway, who said Wednesday he thinks by Sunday the air quality in Seattle won’t put in question whether their game against the New England Patriots will be played.
“We think it’s going to be fine,” Carroll said during a Zoom video call with Patriots reporters.
The Seahawks moved practice at the VMAC indoors Wednesday, something they have the option of doing every day this week (the team makes such decisions on a day-by-day basis).
“We’re very cognizant of it,” Carroll said.
Carroll said the Seahawks are in contact with the NFL, which makes the call on whether a game is postponed or moved (and one easy solution for Sunday’s game would be to play it Monday).
It’s been reported that Air Quality Index is a factor in the league’s process, with 200 being the threshold, the number the Seattle area was hovering around most of Wednesday.
But an NFL spokesman said it’s not that simple, adding, “There are other measurements and factors that go into the decision-making process beyond the 200 number, including looking at other PM (particulate matter) levels.”
The NFL’s game-operations manual goes into more depth on the decision-making process:
“The NFL Football Operations department will initiate contingency planning when smoke from an extensive fire or other pollutants present a significant health risk to an area in, or in proximity of, an NFL stadium hosting a game. The NFL Football Operations department will monitor the website AirNow.gov, which provides real-time AQI data and was developed by the EPA and other federal and state agencies. In addition to the AirNow.gov website, the NFL Football Operations department will consult with their contracted weather service and agencies within the affected area and will obtain hourly AQI measurements from the instruments those agencies use to measure AQI. In many instances, local air quality fluctuates based on meteorological conditions.
“NFL Football Operations will also consult with the NFL Chief Medical Officer and other medical consultants as may be deemed helpful to get medical input on the air conditions and potential medical implications. Accordingly, NFL Football Operations will work closely with the home club and local authorities and will be prepared to relocate a game if there is definitive evidence that the AQI will remain consistently above 200 for a significant period of time, including the day of the game being played in the affected stadium.’’
The ever-optimistic Carroll was hopeful Wednesday that none of it will be necessary.
“We see a turn in the weather pattern coming before the weekend that should help us out,’’ Carroll said. “We’re tuned into it, the predictions, if you’re paying attention to the science, the predictions are it’s gonna move out some here, but anything can happen so we’ve got to be ready.’’
Tuesday night’s Mariners game against the Giants at T-Mobile Park was postponed because of poor air quality, and the two-game series was moved to San Francisco.