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UPDATE: Ravens-Steelers Moved to Wednesday

The Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers came keeps moving due to COVID concerns. It's now been moved to Tuesday night. The Steelers then have a short week before their next game, which they will not be happy about. And Baltimore's Thursday game with Dallas will assuredly have to be moved to Sunday. That's even assuming the Ravens don't have more positive tests that would leave them without enough healthy players to play this game.

UPDATE: And Cowboys-Ravens next week has been moved to Monday at 5pm. 

UPDATE AGAIN: On Monday afternoon, this game was kicked back to Wednesday. This will also force next week's Washington-Pittsburgh game to move to Monday.

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38 comments, Last at 02 Dec 2020, 7:06pm

1 This is BS

The Steelers have a real beef here. At least they get WFT on the short week and not the Bills. 

2 Agreed

In reply to by atworkforu

Yeah, it's ridiculous that they keep getting screwed by the negligence of other teams. I hope all of the Ravens who are ill recover quickly, but from the organizational standpoint it amounts to this: Baltimore couldn't safely put a team on the field at game time. That's a forfeit, not a five-day delay so that you can maybe get your act together.

I felt the same earlier in the season with the Titans. Taking a loss probably means more to teams than losing a draft pick or getting fined.

3 A forfeit would mean the…

In reply to by rpwong

A forfeit would mean the Ravens players don't get paid.   I'm pretty sure they would not prefer that option.    

I suppose the Ravens could pay them anyway, but they are under no obligation to do so under what was negotiated by the league and the NFLPA.

5 Disagree. Forfeiting the…

In reply to by rpwong

Disagree. Forfeiting the game mainly punishes the fans, who no longer have a game to watch. Especially a big rivalry game such as this.

The 'fairness' of the competition comes a distant second to the entertainment product. The NFL knows this. 

6 Fairness of competition is…

Fairness of competition is part of the entertainment value of the product.    Otherwise you could justify the refs rigging matches to get the most exciting big city teams into the playoffs using that reasoning.

I would like to think the health of their employees is at least a part of that as well.  But obviously, its just part of it.

7 I think it goes without…

I think it goes without saying that match fixing cannot be justified under any circumstances. 

Here we are talking about a game being postponed a few days in order for it to be played safely. Sure Baltimore might eventually have to concede if they remain unable to play. But I would rather every avenue to play the game was explored first, so that fans have a game to watch.  

8 Agreed.

If Denver has more outbreaks ahead of time, they'd probably move it. Baltimore has 18 (12 then) and not just one isolated position group. 

14 rewarded for carelessness

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The Patriots had only one player testing positive, so they were told they had to play, even though many other players had likely been exposed.

But because the Ravens did a much worse job responding to COVID, they are getting cut more slack.

Meanwhile, the Broncos are given zero wiggle room and told to play a game with a QB who was a WR on their practice squad.  

This is why people write rules.  So solutions aren't tailored on a case-to-case basis, leaving the NFL schedule up to the whims of a man who has shown he cannot be trusted to be impartial.  

28 Uh

Yeah,1 case isn't 12+

IDK how this is "slack" and not trying to be safe, especially when that "slack" means half the starters arent gonna be playing whenever it is (unless it's moved to week 18, which at this point, it sounds like a go for RG3 and bums today).

Broncos was also 1 person and the close contacts that said they weren't being as careful. 

Should've just bubbled up instead of this weekly travel.

30 A bubble was never a…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

A bubble was never a realistic choice for the NFL. Even regional bubbles were a no-go. Maybe for playoffs, but I doubt it. Just too many people involved. 

31 Only reason it couldnt

is if they didnt want to. There were a lot of people in the NBAs but they did it properly. Set up division bubbles first then go from there. That and STOP ALLOWING FANS IN. They had plenty of time to be creative w/bubble scheduling.

33 Let's look at some numbers…

Let's look at some numbers. The NBA bubble initially had 22 teams with 37 people each. That figure included everything from players to coaches to front office staff to security. That's 814 people, half of which were players. 

That lasted about three weeks after which teams that were eliminated were out of the bubble.

The teams that made it all the way spent 2.5 months in the bubble. 

For the NFL, the numbers and the duration are just much less manageable. Basically,  you'd be asking 4-5000 people to spend 5 months in one or more bubbles, with no contact with anyone outside, including family. Yeah, that wasn't in any way a realistic solution. 

But let's look at how it would work anyway. 

First off, you would have to completely change scheduling and have all divisional matchups in a lump. I would argue last, for competitive reasons, but if the bubbles don't work and you have outbreaks, that would be a bigger problem. 

A divisional bubble would be 6 weeks with about 55+12=67 players per team. Assume same ratio of players to non-players as the NBA and you get 4x67x2=536 people per bubble. Somewhat less than the NBA initially, but longer duration for most. Probably reasonable to assume roughly similar difficulty scale. Except there are 8 of them and there aren't 8 Disney World complexes with full stadiums to play in. So already the issues are MUCH, MUCH more complicated than the NBA. 

Regardless, at some point you need to do interdivisional games. That's when the bubble idea bursts completely. It just isn't doable. You would have to pair two divisions playing against each other, but that DOUBLES the bubble size although the duration would be limited to 4 weeks. Not sure where you find 4 closed complexes with room for over 1000 people each. 

Then you would have to repeat that.

You would probably also need to have a week bye week in between each bubble change, just to get everybody and everything moved,  tested, etc. 

All in all, no amount of "creative scheduling" as you put it would have allowed bubbles to create anything resembling a normal season. 

35 I generally agree with you…

I generally agree with you here (I just made a post making many of the same points), but I would like to say that you could have done away interdivision/interconference games. Or at least limit them to playing at most one other division. MLB only played against their division, and their matching interleague division for example. That would have created more strength of schedule issues (one of the reasons baseball expanded the playoffs and took the top two from each division), but some flexibility is required here (the NFL hasn't shown much). Doesn't really make playing the full season in a bubble viable, but less time spent travelling still might have been desirable. 

38 Right

A whole season of the NFC East playing each other, the shell of the Patriots, and the Jets. Who would not want to watch that?

36 So...they essentially didnt want to?

A normal season was never in the cards and that should haven't been the aim. Otherwise you get this. And baseball. And college football. And yet people still complain. Idk what yall expected. Nothing about this year is normal, dont know why sports would be excluded. 

Either be away from family (not all people have family they see that often btw) like the NBA which they did and survived mentally and physically (for the most part) or leave it up to individuals teams where there's a wide variety of people that may or may not take it as seriously as others. They chose the latter and are indeed trying to mitigate it as much as possible...buuuut there's a lot of outbreaks because...well, like I said, variety of people, with some being like that Seahawks player that tried to sneak a girl into his hotel and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Nothing was ever going to be perfect but it seems people will complain either way so again ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

NHL bubble is probably a better comparison for the NFL actually. 

34 Telling players, coaches and…

Telling players, coaches and staff that they have to be away from their family, friends, and loved ones for four months (plus the playoffs for teams that qualify) for our entertainment would have been monstrous, and they should have just cancelled the season if that was the approach they were going to take (I doubt the players union would have agreed anyway, which is the problem baseball ran into when they tried to do the same thing.) The NBA bubble only included 22 teams, and 6 of those went home after two weeks. The playoffs continued for almost two months, but of course being playoffs, the number of people needing to stay in the bubble decreased by half each round. Only the Heat and Lakers had to remain in the bubble for the full 75 days.

On the other hand, a month or so long playoff bubble should be possible for the NFL, and they'd be nuts not to consider it. 

37 So yeah, they definitely didnt want to.

Want your cake and eat it too. Not how things go unfortunately during a pandemic. And if you try you get this. Which I guess is the same end result of people yelling and crying so...eh, lose lose situation. 

Side note being away from family sucks but yall act like technology doesnt exist. Yes it's not the same but they're not gonna be gone for years. Not to mention not everybody has a family (they get along with) and, just like the NBA, people were given the option to not play and, again like the NBA, most decided, "eh, love em but imma risk it to play (and get paid)." Definitely an overblown concern. They have teammates, it's not straight up solitary confinement. 

22 Denver headed into the…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Denver headed into the weekend 4-6, with <1% playoff chance per FO,

Baltimore was 6-4, with >75% playoff chance per FO

I think the league is trying to keep from affecting the playoff chances of the teams involved as much, or more than, protecting the health of the players.  

How many players have tested positive on Monday morning, after playing on Sunday, yet we do not seem to have any transmission between teams?

11 A strength coach lied about…

In reply to by rpwong

A strength coach lied about his symptoms on all the health checks and spread it around the weight room. How is that team negligence?

The NFL needs to worry a lot more about spreading Covid than about arbitrary punishments if they don't want to have to end the season prematurely.

10 Waaah, won't someone think…

Waaah, won't someone think of the Steewers and their poor schedule. You know what, I'm with them! Play the game if the Steelers are so hellbent on deliberately catching Covid! Then they'll have an actual problem to whine about.

12     Adam Schefter   …



Adam Schefter





Another ultimate 2020 note: the Ravens-Steelers game is kicking off Wednesday at 3:40 pm because NBC wanted and was committed to broadcasting the 88th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday night, per sources. Tree lighting trumped football.

13 "no rules!"

With Goodell having no firm rules for any of this rescheduling, it's going to be hard for him to avoid accusations of favoritism.  The Broncos had to play a game without any of their QBs, but the Ravens violate protocols but are allowed to have their scheduled game pushed back six days.  

The Pats were required to play the Super Bowl champions without their starting QB.  Why is the NFL bending over backwards to accommodate the Ravens?  Seems like the Patriots should have tried harder to spread the disease.  Then they might have been given enough time for Cam to come back.  


15 It's not hard to see why the…

In reply to by RickD

It's not hard to see why the Ravens were treated different. The Broncos had one positive test early in the week. There was no risk of spreading covid by playing the game. 

The Ravens had 8 consecutive days of at least one positive test and about 20 players on the covid list. If they had played the game Thursday, a bunch of covid-infected players would have played. If they had played Sunday, a bunch of covid-infected players would have played. The NFL wisely delayed the game to stop the spread of the disease. 

17 I understand why they…

I understand why they proceeded in this way and, it epidemiologically makes very sense.

However, by doing so they are punishing teams that are able to contain the spreading and instead compromising with teams that are unable to do so.

I also understand that is not easy, particularly if you introduce the game-check factor.

In Italian soccer league they introduced, on the fly and after a similar issue, that if you have 10 or more positive players you can ask a postponement once in all year, otherwise you are forced to play or forfeit if you are unable to do so.

Easier to have this solution, when you can realistically play every three days until May.

But NFL is still culpable to not have a Week 18 already on the schedule.



19 If they had played the game…

If they had played the game Thursday, a bunch of covid-infected players would have played. If they had played Sunday, a bunch of covid-infected players would have played.

While I agree that containing the virus should take precedence over playing a game at a certain time, neither of these statements are necessarily true.  There was nothing stopping the NFL from giving the Ravens a list of players who had either tested positive or were shown by contact tracing to have been exposed and saying "The game is on Sunday.  These players cannot play."  It wouldn't be 100%, but it would be no greater risk than any other NFL game this year.  If the Ravens chose to forfeit instead, that's their prerogative.

And from what I read, the Ravens players refused to play on Tuesday without having the benefit of practice, claiming an increased risk of injury due to their being out of condition.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  On one hand, the balls of those guys, and the League should have pointed to their right to forfeit.  On the other, it was a very smart play to try to get some guys back.  It's not their fault the NFL acquiesced. 


23 But I'd add that it's…

But I'd add that it's questionable whether they could determine whether they could accurately track who had been exposed via contract tracing. I think the players who were potentially exposed were already put on the list. Other players who supposedly weren't exposed still tested positive. There is so simple formula to figure this out. 

Also, the NFL, not the Ravens cancelled the Ravens practice on Monday. So the league's position was, it's unsafe for you to practice Monday, but safe to play a game on Tuesday. Which is preposterous. 

I think the Ravens players refusing to play Tuesday was a union issue and they were backed by the NFLPA. If you throw 10 practice squad players on the field and they are forced to play positions that they have never practiced in (because the NFL cancelled their practice), and they get injured, I think they would have a pretty strong grievance.  

25 That comes down to one…

That comes down to one player vs. a whole team.  There are plenty of times every year that a single player gets thrust into a role on short notice, but it's much rarer that the league prevents an entire team from practicing(*).

A good comparison might be if one or two players died in a car accident vs. a team bus crashing and fifteen players dying.  In the former case, I don't think the NFL would reschedule the next game, but in the latter, I think they would.

(*) I think a better question is: if the NFL is allowed to cancel a team's practice, why couldn't they just force them to forfeit?  Though I think the NFLPA would raise a shitshow over that, since I read that no players from either team get paid in the case of a forfeit.

27 And from what I read, the…

And from what I read, the Ravens players refused to play on Tuesday without having the benefit of practice

I think that's a guarantee in the collective bargain.

In a sport where the union hates the league, and Goodell specifically, they won't budge from a negotiated item, and if the league took a game check away due to an issue created by team management, you might have seen a league-wide walkout. And justifiably so.

18 I'm not sure why you delay…

I'm not sure why you delay from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon unless the NFL are looking at their rules and trying to skate through on a technicality regarding Ravens players that would not qualify to play on Tuesday but can on Wednesday due to enough time has passed. Meanwhile they had a team play a game on Sunday with a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback.