Incredible scenes have emerged from the US where fans and neighbours have rallied together to help NFL players trapped by an epic snowstorm.
The Buffalo Bills were scheduled to play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday local time before a record-setting snowstorm hit.
Given the area surrounding the Bills stadium recorded almost 200cm of snow, the game was shifted to Detroit – but getting players and staff to Ford Field proved a massive challenge on Saturday.
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The nearest airport closed Friday night and only reopened 16 hours later, when a record 63cm of snow fell on the tarmac overnight.
With players told they could fly to Detroit on Saturday afternoon, the task of then getting the squad together became an all-hands on deck event.
Fans turned out to help Spencer Brown clear his driveway while tight ends Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney shared a clip of their neighbours shovelling so they could get on the road to team headquarters.
“The city of good neighbours. Wow. Let’s go. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Knox posted online.
Quarterback Case Keenum shared video of his neighbours using machines to dig a path for his car so he could join teammates.
“Huge shout out to my neighbors here in western NY!! Got me out of the house to get to the game this week! #BillsMafia,” he posted.
Even offensive linesman Dion Dawkins shared incredible footage on his social media of the wall of snow in his driveway when he lifted his garage door.
Safety Micah Hyde’s wife filmed the Bills star running through the snow shirtless as tried to make his way to teammates.
Fortunately the club confirmed all players and staff were able to make it to headquarters where they were escorted to the airport by bus.
Even club staff pitched in to help get players from their homes, with Bills COO Ron Raccuia driving around to pick up players.
“We are doing everything we possibly can to pull this off and get to the airport and get to Detroit this afternoon,” Raccuia told The Athletic.
“Every aspect of the organization is a part of this effort.”
Some determined fans even waited in the snow to cheer the players on as they boarded their flight, more than two hours after crews began loading the team’s gear onto the aircraft.
Despite the conditions, the players departed only two hours later than scheduled and the squad landed in Detroit safely on Saturday afternoon local time.
“We’re going to try to keep it as routine as possible. Is it a little disruption? Yes. But I think our guys are pros. They understand it,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said.
The Bills are desperate for victory over the Browns – who only had a 2.5 hour bus ride to Detroit for the game – as they sit third in their conference on the back of two losses, including last week’s thriller against the Vikings.
The squad has only met virtually since the snowstorm hit, with practice on Friday cancelled due to the conditions.
Players are reportedly set to remain in Detroit after the Browns match, depending on the snow conditions, given they will take on the Lions in week 12.