The NFL, one would think, is up against the door at this point. They can’t postpone the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game against the Baltimore Ravens any more without pushing it to week 18—a week in the regular season that does not currently exist—can it? This is the first Wednesday game the league has played in eight years, and they have already pushed back the teams’ next games.
What if they play Thursday, an entire week later than originally scheduled? Would they still make the Steelers play the Washington Football Team on Monday—or even Tuesday? Could they make that adjustment—would they have to make further adjustments, compensating anew each week?
Almost surely not. And yet, even as we stand here, today’s game is not set in stone. Even with the Ravens already in Pittsburgh, there is one more test that they must pass—literally. The league will administer rapid-result point-of-contact Covid-19 tests in the morning, and the results of those tests will determine whether or not the game is played, according to Dan Graziano and others.
Ravens will be tested again Wednesday before the game. These will be rapid-result, point-of-care tests. It is not out of the question that positive results from Wednesday’s round of testing could lead to further postponement. As of now, game is still on for 3:40 pm ET. Stay tuned
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) December 2, 2020
One last note on the #Ravens‘ situation: The NFLPA is monitoring things along with the league and the team. The union is not attempting to halt the game as of right now, sources say, but will obviously watch tomorrow’s POC tests before the game.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 2, 2020
Why not PCR tests? Because the results would not arrive in time, of course. Especially now that they are in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are even further away from their testing facility than the Ravens are. So they have to use these POC tests.
Baltimore has had at least one player test positive every day for 10 straight days. Even new positives today will not necessarily halt the game. It all depends on who is positive, and how. The league already has an idea of players who could be candidates, players identified as low- or medium-risk. A medium-risk close contact is defined thus:
An individual who: maintained a distance of 6 feet or greater from the infected individual; had only brief interaction (less than 10 minutes) with the infected individual within 6 feet and both persons were wearing masks; had no physical contact with the infected individual or shared objects during practice, while other locations in the facility were shared with social distancing and cleaning standards as set forth in these protocols.
We have no idea who else might be on the list of low- and medium-risk players because only high-risk close contacts are put on the Reserve/Covid-19 List, and are required to self-isolate. I can only guess that Derek Wolfe and Luke Willson, who were listed as dealing with illnesses this and last week, might be among them, but that is sheer speculation. They could have had the runs.
Yesterday, it was Geno Stone. The day before, it was Terrell Bonds. Before that, Willie Snead. Before that, Mark Andrews and Matt Judon. Before that, Will Holden. Lamar Jackson. Morgan Cox. Justin Madubuike. Patrick Ricard. Jihad Ward. Calais Campbell. Patrick Mekari. Matt Skura. Pernell McPhee. And then back to the beginning—J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram.