The NFL has already twice pushed back what was supposed to be a Thanksgiving night game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, so what’s a third time to a league apparently committed to playing this game at all costs?
The league has postponed
Thursday’s, Sunday’s, Tuesday’s game one more day to Wednesday, the Ravens announced Monday.
The teams will kick off at 3:40 p.m. ET, an unusually early start reportedly due to NBC’s insistence on broadcasting the 88th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony that same night in New York.
Statement from the Baltimore Ravens: pic.twitter.com/triP9L8e9i
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 1, 2020
The Ravens added that they hosted a safely distanced walkthrough at their training facility on Monday and intend to do the same Tuesday before flying to Pittsburgh that night.
The fallout of the move marked even more delays, as the team’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, already delayed from this Thursday to Monday, has also been delayed to Dec. 8 (a Tuesday night). Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game against the Washington Football Team, previously scheduled for Sunday, will be pushed back to Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.
In total, the three games involving the Ravens and Steelers between this week and next have now been delayed a total of six times.
One extra day could go a long way for the Ravens in trying to ensure their COVID-19 outbreak is finally contained, though an additional delay will almost certainly further infuriate Steelers players and their fans.
The Ravens-Steelers game was first moved to Sunday on the day before Thanksgiving, then again to Tuesday on Friday, the same day star quarterback Lamar Jackson was ruled out.
The Ravens have been on an astounding streak of players either testing positive for COVID-19 or hitting the reserve/COVID-19 list, going all the way back to last Monday when running backs Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins and defensive tackle Brandon Williams hit the list. That streak continued Monday.
4 more Ravens hit COVID-19 list
Another Raven tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, but it was one on injured reserve who hasn’t been in close contact with other players, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. This is what qualifies for good news in Baltimore these days.
Per source, today's round of Ravens test results produced no new positives that would impact Tuesday's game. There was 1 new positive, but it's an IR player who hasn't been in close contact with others. NFL has given Ravens the option to fly to Pitt tomorrow following more tests.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) November 30, 2020
Less good news is the fresh batch of players that hit the COVID-19 list on Monday due to either testing positive in previous tests or being in close contact with players who did test positive.
Tight end Mark Andrews, linebacker Matthew Judon, wide receiver Willie Snead IV and cornerback Terrell Bonds were all placed on the list. Andrews and Judon were both Pro Bowlers last year, while Snead has been arguably the most consistent receiver on a Ravens offense that is struggling.
On the bright side, four other players — outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, guard D.J. Fluker, defensive tackle Broderick Washington and defensive back Iman Marshall — came off the list on Monday as well.
The total number of players on the Ravens’ reserve/COVID-19 list remains at 19, with seven of them having made one of the past two Pro Bowls. However, the additional delay to Wednesday could reportedly allow Ingram and Dobbins to return in time.
A rare Wednesday night NFL game
If the Ravens-Steelers game proceeds as scheduled, it will be the first NFL Wednesday night game since 2012, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.
The cause for that game — the Dallas Cowboys’ season opener against the New York Giants — to be played on Wednesday? The NFL didn’t want to compete with President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.
That will at least produce an interesting bit of trivia by the end of the season, when the NFL will have played a game on every day of the week.
And Friday. December 25. Vikings-Saints. https://t.co/ldvomF6rNa
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 1, 2020
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