The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers’ game against the Ravens be played on Sunday?
There couldn’t be a more obvious question to ask today, could there? It’s, maybe even inarguably, the biggest question in the NFL right now, let alone in Pittsburgh. Simply put, will the Steelers, who were originally supposed to host the Ravens yesterday night, still play their postponed game on Sunday as planned, with a Covid-19 outbreak within the organization still potentially more widespread than the league believed?
The reason that the NFL was comfortable moving a Thursday game to Sunday was because they felt confident that they identified the spread event and that they had a stable timeline of transmission that they could trace and thus predict, and they felt that the transmission period would settle over the next few days.
The positive test for Lamar Jackson may have been a bit of a surprise. The Ravens reportedly believe that he likely was infected on Sunday, perhaps through contact with center Patrick Mekari (not necessarily in the field of play).
If the infection event is more widespread than they had identified, or worse still, if there were multiple infection events, which continue to trigger new positives into the weekend, then it’s a virtual certainty that the game will not be played on Sunday. Could it still be played on Monday or Tuesday? The NFL sure is banking on it. They will do anything within their power and within the boundaries of medical safety to get the game played next week.