Many players on the Pittsburgh Steelers reacted rather strongly to the news that the NFL chose to postpone their game, scheduled for tonight, against the Baltimore Ravens, instead moving it to Sunday afternoon, in response to what is expected to be an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak within the Ravens organization.
Even some whom you might not typically expect to voice a strongly negative opinion, such as wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, took to social media to react. New linebacker Avery Williamson told The Fan yesterday that the players were “bummed” when the news dropped.
They surely must have known that it was a possibility, of course. After all, they have already had a game moved before. They even were thrown into their bye week after having already spent half of that bye week preparing for an opponent that they wouldn’t face for weeks as a result of the game being moved.
That is, of course, one of the big reasons that players actually were upset. They already lost, in a certain sense, their bye. This was a Thursday night game, a game in which you get 10 days off before the next, which is like a mini-bye. And if you doubt that, just ask a player. The Fan did.
“Oh yeah, it helps a lot”, Williamson said. “I actually had a Thursday night game with the Jets already. It was huge just to get a few days, from Thursday night to Wednesday, that’s huge, you want to take full advantage of it. it’s definitely tough. Guys want to get their bodies right. It’s unfortunate. It’s just the way the dice is rolled this week”.
The Steelers have a couple of players, such as Smith-Schuster, dealing with injuries right now. Perhaps they feel they would have rather gotten through this game and then had a longer stretch afterward to heal.
There was even a report about how head coach Mike Tomlin was looking to make the most of this Thursday game as an opportunity to treat it truly as a partial bye week, as time off, plans which, of course, went out the window with the postponement.
Out of anything else, this, of course, is the aspect that sucks for the Steelers. Not that the game was moved, but that they don’t get that extended break. They practiced during their actual bye week already, even though they didn’t play a game.
But this is 2020. This is playing in a pandemic. The possibility of competitive imbalance is built into the uncertainty of the very nature of the situation itself. So they can be bummed, they can be pissed, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
With that said, I’m sure they’re over their anger and ready to roll with the punches. It’s easy to have a visceral immediate reaction, but you can’t change what’s going on, and Tomlin will have this team recalibrated and locked in to the new schedule.