It was only a matter of time before the NFL had a significant, scheduling-altering problem due to Covid-19, and the Ravens vs. Steelers matchup in Week 12 has become exactly that. Originally set to take place Thanksgiving night, the AFC North showdown keeps getting pushed back, delayed and rescheduled as more and more players and personnel test positive for the virus.
Problems with this game first began last week, and it’s unclear when they will stop. Right now the NFL is saying the game will be played Wednesday night, but as many times as this matchup has been postponed and delayed, it’s iffy saying that will happen for certain.
Monday, November 23.
The first signs of problems emerged following the Ravens’ overtime win against the Titans. On Sunday night multiple players tested positive for Covid-19, with the team announcing the results of the tests and adding they were closing down practice facilities to limit the spread.
Baltimore moved to “virtual preparations,” still expecting to play on Thursday. However, reports indicated that Mark Ingram, and JK Dobbins both tested positive. Without its two primary running back, Gus Edwards is slotted in to start against the Steelers.
Tuesday, November 24.
The Ravens announce more players have tested positive for Covid. The biggest name Tuesday is linebacker Pernell McPhee, who is added to the injury list due to the virus. Despite now missing numerous starters, there’s belief the game will still be played Thursday night.
Wednesday, November 25.
On the eve of the scheduled game, the Ravens announced more players and personnel test positive. In response the NFL officially postponed the Thanksgiving night game, saying it will take place on Sunday afternoon at 1:15 p.m.
Neither side is happy about the decision. Some Ravens players voice their displeasure with the league for putting them at risk in the first place.
The Steelers are also unhappy with their primetime game is being moved with just over 24 hours of notice. Pittsburgh, set to enter the game undefeated, is pushing for a first round bye, and potentially home field advantage in the playoffs. The decision to move the game impacts their future preparations.
The Ravens announce they have internally disciplined a staff member, believed to be a strength and conditioning coach, for failing to follow protocols. In addition, three more players are added to the Ravens’ Covid list, two on the offensive line, and one on defense.
Thursday, November 26.
With the game officially postponed, reports emerge that more players have tested positive — including quarterback Lamar Jackson. This brings the team’s total to seven players who are officially on the Covid list, with another four reportedly testing positive, but not being added to the list yet.
Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh reportedly tells players they will be working remotely until “Monday at the earliest,” which counters the NFL’s plans the game will take place Sunday. This raises questions about when the game will take place.
Friday, November 27.
The NFL announces Friday morning that the game will now be moved to Tuesday night, confirming Harbaugh’s remarks to players. As a result Baltimore’s Thursday night game against the Cowboys will be moved to Monday to avoid the Ravens playing two games in two days.
While the game plan seems to be solidifying, it’s announced that four players, including Lamar Jackson, have been officially added to Baltimore’s Covid/reserve list. This is quickly followed by the Steelers, who add three players of their own to the list.
Saturday, November 28.
Baltimore conducts widespread rapid testing to try and understand the breadth of their Covid spread. In this testing it’s revealed that another six players have tested positive, and will be added to the list. This takes the team’s total to 17 players who are presumed to be unavailable for the Tuesday night game.
Sunday, November 29.
Preparations for a Tuesday night game continue, despite numerous problems rearing their head. The current plan is for Ravens players to travel and play the same day, flying on two separate flights to Pittsburgh in an effort to limit potential spread.
In the midst of this the Ravens announce another positive test, this time wide receiver Willie Snead.
Monday, November 30.
The NFL intervenes and stops the Ravens from practicing as planned. The team will not be able to conduct any practices prior to playing Tuesday night, or so everyone thinks. More players are added to the Ravens’ Covid list, then it’s announced on Monday night that the NFL will once again move the game, this time to Wednesday night. In the hopes teams will be able to prepare properly for the game.
Tuesday, December 1.
The Ravens now have 21 players on the Covid-reserve list. The game remains scheduled for Wednesday night, but there are major questions whether the game can take place as planned.