Ravens-Steelers Thanksgiving showdown moved to Sunday due to COVID-19 tests

Frank Schwab
·3 min read

There will be no third Thanksgiving game in this odd NFL season.

Due to positive COVID-19 tests on the Baltimore Ravens, the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers will be played Sunday, the NFL announced.

The Ravens-Steelers game was scheduled for prime time on Thanksgiving. It was the best of the three games, after the first two games involved four teams with losing records.

The team placed offensive linemen Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura, along with defensive end Calais Campbell, on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. The Ravens had positive COVID-19 tests on Monday from running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, head coach John Harbaugh said. The team’s facility was shut down. There were more positive tests on Tuesday, putting the Thursday game in peril.

“This decision was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts,” the NFL said in a statement.

The Ravens later announced that they had “disciplined a staff member for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases.” According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, a strength and conditioning coach was punished for not consistently wearing a mask or tracking device and for not reporting symptoms.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, front left, fumbles the ball while being hit by Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) and inside linebacker Vince Williams (98). (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
The Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game was pushed back to Sunday due to a COVID-19 outbreak. (AP/Gail Burton)

The game will now kick off at 1:15 p.m. ET on Sunday, and will still be carried on NBC. There will be no change to the Thursday schedule for the first two games, the NFL said.

The Steelers weren’t happy about the news, with several angry tweets from players right after they were informed.

The change eliminates a huge television rating in prime time. The other two Thanksgiving games are the 3-7 Houston Texas vs. the 4-6 Detroit Lions and the 3-7 Washington Football Team facing the 3-7 Dallas Cowboys. Ravens-Steelers was the highlight of Thanksgiving, which is always a big day for the NFL.

The Ravens put out a statement, after the Steelers’ complaints, lauding the NFL for its diligence.

The NFL hasn’t had to move many games considering the consistent news of positive tests and close contacts, but the Steelers have had their season disrupted. Their game against the Tennessee Titans was moved from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25, and it virtually eliminate the Steelers’ bye week since they had been practicing all week before the game was pushed back.

The NFL had to move back a Thursday game earlier this season, when a Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bills game was pushed back to Monday of Week 6. There was no Thursday night game that week.

It has been a few weeks since the NFL had to change the date or time of a game. This postponement has a big impact, considering how many people would have settled in to watch a marquee matchup on Thanksgiving night.

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