Under normal circumstances, we would be talking about how the Pittsburgh Steelers just beat the Washington Football Team yesterday to send themselves to 12-0, continuing to expand their franchise best start to the season. Under normal circumstances, their defeat of the Baltimore Ravens would have come 11 days ago, instead of five.
These are not normal circumstances, of course, and the circumstances under which the season is being played led to the Ravens suffering a significant Covid-19 outbreak within their organization, as a result of which, their game against the Steelers was postponed three separate times, pushed back a total of six days.
Baltimore experienced a total of 23 players being placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 List, with more than a dozen of them having been confirmed to have tested positive, with a least one new player testing positive for 10 consecutive days, right down to the day before the game was played—which they found out while they were boarding the plane to fly to Pittsburgh.
This all started, so it had been assumed, in the training room, where their head strength and conditioning coach had reported to work experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and had not been consistently wearing a mask.
According to CBS Sports, however, there were concerns reported by players to their agents and to the NFLPA about other staff members within the organization not consistently adhering to the league’s increasingly strict Covid-19 protocols, indicating that members of the nutrition staff and a team chaplain had also been in violation.
Several members of the team’s staff also tested positive for Covid-19. While no members of the coaching staff were announced as testing positive, at least a couple of assistant coaches were not permitted to travel to the game.
The report states that the organization has bee very compliant with the league’s investigation, but that will not allow them to escape discipline. With that said, the discipline that they ultimately receive will almost surely fall well short of what most Steelers fans—based upon reactions here—believe they deserve, or even is required.
Given that the game has already been played, by the way, I think we can probably stop talking about forfeits, right?
Baltimore will inevitably receive a fine. The question is whether or not they will also be docked a draft pick. So far, only two teams have been disciplined at a level that rose to the forfeiture of a draft pick, and in both cases, those teams were repeat offenders who had been previously fined. In other words, don’t be surprised if the Ravens only receive a fine for all of this, somewhere in the range of $350-600,000.