The Texans will take on the San Diego Chargers Sunday, Oct. 28 at Qualcomm Stadium at the regularly scheduled time of 3:05 p.m. CT, the NFL announced today.
Qualcomm Stadium will be ready for NFL football by this weekend, and the City of San Diego will be able to provide sufficient public safety personnel to manage a professional football game without impeding ongoing wildfire recovery efforts.
Following is a statement released Friday from San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders:
"Qualcomm Stadium will be ready for NFL football by this weekend. The City will be able to provide sufficient public safety personnel to manage a professional football game without impeding ongoing wildfire recovery efforts. I informed the Chargers late Thursday that should they decide to play their game at Qualcomm this weekend, the Stadium will be ready.
"Early Friday morning the Chargers informed me that the NFL has decided to play Sunday's game as scheduled at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers and the Houston Texans will kick off at Qualcomm on Sunday, October 28th at 1:05 pm."
The Texans discovered the official game time a little less than an hour after practice, and head coach Gary Kubiak was asked following the team's workout how the uncertainty was affecting his team.
"It is very difficult, but you understand the circumstances," he said. "We're going to play. We've had a good week of practice. We may get an extra day of practice. We may not. We may have to get on the plane in the morning. We're just going to prepare as if we're leaving tomorrow to go play in San Diego and I told the guys to watch TV tonight so you guys let them know whether we're playing Monday or Sunday."
As far as the air quality in San Diego, which has been ravaged by wild fires, Kubiak did not seem too concerned.
"No, I don't think they would put us out there if they felt that was a problem," Kubiak said. "The people that are responsible for this have our players' best interest in mind, there's no doubt about that. They'll do what's right."
Guard Chester Pitts has reason to worry about the air quality.
"I actually have asthma," he said. "I puff on my inhaler every game.
"But the NFL, they're smart people that work for the NFL. They won't have us go play a game if the air quality is bad or will tear up our throats or our lungs. That would just be silly, so I really doubt that that would happen."
Right tackle Eric Winston also is concerned about the air.
"You don't want to have to go out there and have a coal miner's lungs after the game from bringing it all in, so you want to feel like you're out there and your quality of health won't be diminished down the road because of the air you're breathing," Winston said. "You're assuming that they're not just going to arbitrarily say, 'Hey, we're going to play in San Diego because the game was supposed to be there and it's good for the people' or something...I think first of all, it's got to be OK for the players and then the fans that are going to come to the game, and then you go on from there."
After all the scenarios that were discussed this week, Pitts smiled about the league's final decision.
"That's funny, all that, all the talk and all the changing for nothing," he said. "It's just standard protocol. Should have just kept rolling like normal. But it is what it is, I mean, you have to always adjust, you have to be able to be flexible, and when things change you have to roll with it."
Winston agrees. He thinks the team is ready despite all of the week's distractions.
"We prepared for it this way, so it's not like it's a big shock for us," he said. "We're going to go out there, and we've prepared that it's going to be on Sunday and this is perfect. It's the way it should be."