The Charlotte Observer reports that the NFL has told the Panthers to be in Kansas City for their 1 p.m. kickoff against the Chiefs tomorrow:
The Carolina Panthers are scheduled to play the Chiefs at 1 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. The Panthers were told by the league to travel to Kansas City as planned.
Interim general manager Brandon Beane told the Observer's Joseph Person that the NFL has advised the team to travel as planned, and the team's charter plane is scheduled to leave from Charlotte at 1:15 p.m on Saturday.
They're presumably on that plane now. As the Observer added to their own story, a league source told Sports Illustrated that it would be tough to cancel the game, but not to read too much into the fact that the Panthers are headed to Kansas City:
One league source in the NFL office said officials were still trying to decide Saturday morning whether the game will be played on Sunday as scheduled. He said his guess was that the game would not be postponed or canceled, due to the complications of when to re-schedule the game in the remaining weeks of the season, or how a cancellation might affect the other 30 teams in the league in terms of competitive fairness.
"There is a ripple effect,'' the source said. "It's not simply two teams affected here. I'm not sure in recent history we've ever just canceled a game. But what's under consideration are all the factors involved if they don't play, when do they play? It's a pretty tight schedule to try and make a game up at some later point. These things have to be thought through. Nobody wants to play a football game right now if you're a Kansas City Chief, but what does that do to the other 30 teams? It gets a little complicated from a schedule standpoint and a competitive standpoint.
The league source said the NFL did not feel it was mandatory to make a decison in regards to the game before Carolina boarded its mid-day flight to Kansas City. "If the Panthers have to fly back from Kansas City without having played the game, it's not that big of an issue to deal with,'' the source said. "We'd rather take the time to think through all the ramifications.''
Meanwhile, the Chiefs themselves apparently want the game to be played—according to the Mayor of Kansas City. It's hard to imagine the players, or even the front office, speaking in one voice like this so soon after the events of this morning:
Update, 4:09 p.m.: From the Chiefs PR staff:
"After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow's game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time."