The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled to play their Week 12 matchup on Wednesday due to multiple Covid-19 delays. Both teams have dealt with the virus over the past ten days, but the Ravens in particular have been dealing with a full-on outbreak. The league and team are hoping they are on the other end of this and containing the outbreak, but Wednesday’s game still remains a bit uncertain.
The Ravens had originally been scheduled to play the Steelers on Thanksgiving and then turn around and play the Dallas Cowboys the following Thursday in Week 13. After the game was moved to Sunday, the Week 13 TNF game remained on schedule. However, when the NFL moved the Ravens-Steelers game to Tuesday, they had to move TNF. Ravens-Cowboys was moved to the following Monday. Once Ravens-Steelers got moved to Wednesday, the NFL moved Steelers-Washington to Monday and Ravens-Steelers to Tuesday.
Steelers players have been less than pleased about this whole process, with numerous blaming either the NFL or the Ravens for the handling of this. Now that the Ravens get an extra day before their next game and the Steelers have to play on a slightly short week from Wednesday to Monday, I suspect the displeasure is only growing.
It is not entirely clear why the game was moved another day to Tuesday, but one Twitter user speculated it was because Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would be eligible to return on that day.
Because Lamar will be first eligible to play on Tuesday.— Skoo (@SkooJay) December 1, 2020
Jackson was placed on the Covid-19 injured reserve list last Friday after testing positive. If he remained asymptomatic, he could return as soon as ten days later, while if he was symptomatic, he’d be out at least 14 days. There is no word on his status at this point, so we don’t know if he is at all symptomatic.
While I suspect Steelers fans would willingly read into this conspiracy theory, I’m not sure I can buy that. When Steelers-Ravens was first moved to Monday, the Ravens-Cowboys game was originally re-scheduled for Monday. It was not moved to Tuesday until after Ravens-Steelers was moved a third time. If the NFL was looking to get Jackson back for this one, they would have moved it to Tuesday from the get-go.
I suspect the league wanted to spread out nationally televised games and not have two on top of each other on Monday before the normal Monday Night Football game. Personally, I would have gone for a Monday tripleheader with a game at 1, another at 4:30, and then MNF at 8:15, but I can see why the NFL would want as much primetime action as possible.