Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Covid-19 and a highly anticipated football game between two big rivals.
The NFL postponed the Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers game for the second time due to the coronavirus outbreak on the Ravens.
The game now being scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern time on NBC. The league announced the rescheduling Friday, even though many people familiar with the situation cautioned that Baltimore’s outbreak must be contained for the game to be played Tuesday.
The NFL told teams in a memo Friday that all in person activities will be prohibited in team facilities Monday and Tuesday due in response to rising coronavirus cases and Thanksgiving gatherings. Teams operations on those days must be virtual. Teams playing Monday and Tuesday are exempt.
The Ravens vs Steelers game was supposed to be originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night. The league announced last Wednesday that the game was being delayed until Sunday at 1:15 p.m. Now, with the outbreak on the Ravens continuing, the game has been pushed back a second time.
“These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts,” the NFL said in a statement.
The Ravens had one positive test Friday by a player on the practice squad, according to a person familiar with the results. The team and the NFL could only hope that was a signal the outbreak was easing.
Approximately 13 Ravens players, including star quarterback Lamar Jackson, and at least seven staff members tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days. Positive test results for four Ravens players were returned late Thursday, according to a person familiar with the results. The positive test by Jackson, the NFL’s reigning MVP, was confirmed by another person close to the situation.
The Steelers, the NFL’s only unbeaten team at 10-0, announced earlier that they were canceling Friday’s practice while they awaited the league’s decision on the game.
With Jackson in isolation after his positive test, backup quarterback Robert Griffin III is line to start for the Ravens. They placed Jackson, fullback Patrick Ricard, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and long snapper Morgan Cox on their covid-19 reserve list Friday. That list is for players who test positive for the coronavirus or those determined through contact tracing to have been exposed to the virus.
“The word is out, I tested positive yesterday for COVID,” Ricard wrote Friday on Twitter. “I’ll be using this time to rest/recover along my teammates/staff who has been affected by this virus. I appreciate all the love and support. We will come back stronger than ever!”
The Steelers announced Friday that they had placed offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins and defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Isaiah Buggs on their covid-19 reserve list.
If the game cannot be played Tuesday, the NFL might be forced to add a Week 18 to its regular season. The Ravens vs Steelers game otherwise cannot be rescheduled for later in the season, because both teams already have had their bye weeks. League leaders have said they would add an 18th week if all games cannot be played within the current framework.