The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.
They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.
There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.
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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: How will COVID-19 impact the Steelers’ upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs?
Over the course of the past 10 days or so, about 10 percent of the league’s players have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been several teams who have experienced an internal outbreak within their roster, resulting in a number of positives; this week, the Kansas City Chiefs have been one of those teams.
All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce tested positive on Monday, among others. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill on Tuesday was part of another group of Chiefs players to test positive. As of this writing, they have 13 players on the COVID-19 List, 10 of which have tested positive over the past two days.
It remains to be seen how many more players will follow in the coming days, if any; it also remains to be seen whether any players added this week will be able to clear the protocols and play in time, but we have seen multiple teams in the past two days fail to get key players back in time to play in spite of the fact that their games were postponed.
In addition to Kelce and Hill, the Chiefs also added kicker Harrison Butker to the list, as well as two other starters, tackle Lucas Niang and linebacker Nick Bolton. Running back Charvarius Ward, tight end Blake Bell, and guard Kyle Long are among the other names currently unavailable due to the COVID-19 protocols. Cornerback Rashad Fenton has played quite a bit this year as well.
How many of these players will remain out when the Chiefs play the Steelers? How many other players might be unavailable by then? And what are the odds that the game ends up getting pushed back? Obviously, that depends upon what happens over the next several days.