The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers Thanksgiving night game has been moved to Sunday, the NFL announced Wednesday.
Kickoff is set at 13:15 (ET) and the game is broadcast nationwide by NBC.
The decision came after the Ravens COVID-19 epidemic worsened, sparking an angry response from Steelers players.
Baltimore added three more players – offensive players Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura, as well as defensive end Calais Campbell – to the reserve / COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Ravens has seven players who have achieved a positive result or who have been identified as close contacts. This group includes a total of 2127 clicks this season.
Ravens later issued a statement Wednesday that an unnamed staff member has been disciplined “for behaving around recent COVID-19 cases involving Ravens players and staff.” The team did not provide further details.
The NFL has decided to postpone the game because it wants to use the rest of the week to track further tests and contacts, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. The announcement was made about 31 hours before the planned kickoff.
“This decision was made with extreme caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day staff, and in consultation with medical experts,” the NFL said in a statement.
The epidemic was widespread in Baltimore, where it also gave positive results to the Ravens coaching staff and support staff.
“We appreciate the NFL’s commitment to working closely together to ensure the well-being of players, coaches and staff from the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers,” Ravens said in a statement.
This is the second time that the Steelers schedule has been affected by COVID-19. In Week 4, their match against the Tennessee Titans was moved to Week 7 as the Titans organization broke out. The first Ravens match was moved from Week 7 to the Steelers ’originally scheduled farewell in Week 8, and the postponement of Week 4 became the de facto bye week in Pittsburgh.
This time, the Steelers are losing a mini-bye week by moving the Thanksgiving game to Sunday.
The Steelers will not be accepting fans at Sunday’s game because new orders and advice from the state of Pennsylvania regarding the restriction of outdoor gatherings will take effect on Friday. Only the family of friends and players, as well as the organization, can be admitted to the seat, with full capacity at the 2500 Heinz Field, along with coaches and players.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers ’wide receiver, tweeted within minutes of Wednesday’s announcement of the rescheduled game, expressing his disappointment.
First, the NFL is taking our farewell week because another team can’t put together Covid’s position, now they’re losing the first game of Thanksgiving for the same reason. Smh.
– JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) November 25, 2020
Sources told ESPN he will take a day off on Thursday after practicing the Steelers on Wednesday. Coach Mike Tomlin had planned to release his players until next Wednesday after the Thanksgiving game, but those plans have changed.
“We feel we have a very good handling of exactly when the transfer happened and how it happened,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief physician, told the NFL Network on Wednesday. “I think we feel like we’re a few days away from stepping out of the data transfer event vulnerability window.”
This is the 13th NFL game to be postponed or relocated this season due to problems with the coronavirus, but this is the first postponement since Week 5. Three weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers played against the Green Bay Packers Thursday night, despite four players being added to the reserve / COVID-19 list.
Early Wednesday, some Ravens players expressed concern about the game.
“Player safety … what a joke” – Ravens’ defensive end, Derek Wolfe tweeted.
This is the first time since 2005 that the NFL will only have two matches on Thanksgiving Day.
The Ravens eruption began hours after their defeat to the Titans after Sunday’s 30-24 overtime, when the team learned runners. JK Dobbins and Mark Ingram gave a positive result. Nasal stroke Brandon Williams was later identified as a high-risk close relationship.
On Monday, Baltimore closed its facility in the morning and reopened it in the afternoon as the team held a gateway. A day later, after another positive test, the Ravens closed the facility again and virtually all team activities were completed. In addition to linebacker, Pernell McPhee became the fourth Baltimore player to be placed on the reserve / COVID-19 list in two days.
Postponing Baltimore’s Thanksgiving game to Sunday is a quick turnaround. The Ravens will host the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, December 3rd. The Cowboys will have a full week after recovering on Thanksgiving Day, but Baltimore is playing on a three-day break.
The Ravens could enter the game with a short hand. All players who show a positive result must be quarantined for at least 10 days.
The Steelers, who scored 10-0 for the first time in franchise history, could win a playoff spot with a win over Baltimore and losses to the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders. The Ravens (6-4) try to avoid their first three-game defeat as a starting quarterback with Lamar Jackson.