Officials in Santa Clara County made a major change on Saturday by banning all contact sports for three weeks due to COVID-19. The new rules meant that the San Francisco 49ers could not conduct practices or host games, placing a key stretch of the season in doubt. Now, however, the team has come up with a plan to temporarily play in Arizona.
The 49ers have one away game to start December before hosting the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team. In order to avoid any postponements or cancellations, the 49ers have reached an agreement with the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals. They will play the remaining home games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
"The San Francisco 49ers have come to an agreement with the National Football League and Arizona Cardinals which allows the 49ers to host their Weeks 13 and 14 home games against the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium in Arizona," the organization said in a statement on Monday. "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. Information regarding the 49ers future practice arrangements will be shared at the appropriate time."
With the two teams sharing State Farm Stadium for the remainder of the season, there are questions about scheduling conflicts. However, the two teams will be able to avoid any issues. The Cardinals will host the Rams one day before the 49ers host the Bills. The Arizona team will then head out on the road for a game against the Giants on Dec. 13 while the 49ers host the Football Team.
The remaining three games play out similarly given that the Cardinals and 49ers alternate home and away matchups. There is only one weekend where they will both remain in Arizona in order to play an NFC West game. The Cardinal and 49ers will meet at State Farm Stadium on Dec. 26.
The 49ers are not the only team having to shuffle the remaining schedule due to Santa Clara County guidelines. The Stanford Cardinal and San Jose State Spartans are both unable to hold practices or host games for the next three weeks. Neither team has announced how it will address the changes, but Jon Wilner of the Pac-12 Hotline newsletter reports that Stanford will announce an out-of-state relocation in the next 24 hours. The team will reportedly head to the Pacific Northwest.