When the NFL postponed Thursday night’s Ravens-Steelers game to Sunday, some complained that the Ravens finagled more favorable treatment than other teams that were required to proceed with their games despite COVID-19 issues. Most notably, the 49ers had to play despite missing multiple players on a Thursday night earlier this month, against the Packers.
While those complaints may make sense on the surface, the situations are very different.
As the league explained it to PFT, in the Packers-49ers game, the league was “able to identify and isolate the few cases and were confident that there was no longer concern for more spread among either team.” In Baltimore, the situation has not been contained.
“This is an ongoing matter with new positives among players and staff,” the league said. “There have been a total of seven player positive and additional personnel cases in the last three days. Delaying several days gives us more testing time and provides greater comfort and certainty than playing tomorrow when there could be additional issues that could affect both the Ravens and Steelers and the rest of their seasons. . . .
“As we’ve said all along, the health and safety of players, personnel and the public will continue to override competitive or broadcast concerns. This decision underscores that unwavering commitment.”
Some had been cynical about the legitimacy of the league’s stated concern for player health and safety. The decision to give up one of the most-watched games of the season, frankly, proves that the league has placed the importance of getting the situation under control in order to protect players, coaches, and staff above all other business and football considerations.