Why Are the Steelers and Ravens Playing During the Afternoon on Wednesday?
At the very least, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are setting a record for most postponements in a week. The Steelers and Ravens were scheduled to square off in the prime-time Thanksgiving Day game, but a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak within the Ravens organization pushed the game to Sunday. Then it was moved again to Tuesday night. Now it’s scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday afternoon?
COVID-19 still causing chaos in the NFL
Throughout the season, the NFL has had to get creative and reshuffle the schedule as COVID-19 has reared its ugly head. Bye weeks have been rescheduled, games were played on a Tuesday, and the Denver Broncos played last week without a quarterback. Although the virus has been challenging to the NFL, no games to this point have been lost.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to move their bye week earlier this season through no fault of their own. They were scheduled to play the Tennessee Titans, who had an outbreak, during Week 4. Because the Titans had so many players and staff members test positive, the Steelers and Titans were forced to use their bye week then and reschedule their game down the road.
Big-named players have tested positive for COVID-19 this season. Teams have been short-handed. Just ask the Denver Broncos. Last week, the Broncos had to play without a quarterback. All four of the quarterbacks on the roster were inactive. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel had tested positive for the virus during the week and the three other quarterbacks were labeled high-risk after being in close contact with Driskel.
The Steelers vs. Ravens game has been moved multiple times
When it comes to COVID-19 scheduling issues, Week 12 has been the most challenging. Four times, the date of the Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers game has been changed. Fans were geared up to watch the AFC North rivals battle it out late on Thanksgiving only to find out it had been pushed back to Sunday afternoon.
Since facing the Tennessee Titans in their last game on Nov. 22, the Baltimore Ravens have been decimated by COVID-19. The Ravens have had 21 players placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list since they last played football. Included on the list is quarterback Lamar Jackson and running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins.
After more positive cases popped up, the Sunday’s game was moved to Tuesday. The Ravens were also scheduled to play Thursday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys. That Ravens vs. Cowboys game is now set for next Tuesday. Baltimore’s Week 12 game against the Steelers will now be played Wednesday. Such is life in the NFL in 2020.
A Christmas tree is forcing the game to be played in the afternoon
Just when you thought the 2020 NFL season couldn’t get any weirder. Wednesday’s rescheduled game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers game is scheduled for a 3:40 p.m. ET kickoff. Not only is the Wednesday part unusual, but the 3:40 start is as well.
The game was bumped from prime time to the afternoon slot because of a Christmas tree. The game is being televised on NBC, which wants and is committed to showing the 88th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Wednesday night, according to NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
That’s right, the NFL was bounced from prime time because of a Christmas tree. It’s just another reminder of how strange the 2020 NFL season has been. According to BaltimoreRavens.com, Baltimore now has 19 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and has placed players on it every day over the past week except for Sunday.