NFL has handled Ravens vs Steelers unfairly compared to the rest of the league
With the recent moving back of the Steelers game again, the NFL should be ashamed of their COVID protocols
When the Titans began having a litany of COVID positive cases before their week four matchup with the Steelers, the NFL found themselves at a crossroads. This was the first real-time that an organization was seeing an outbreak of that magnitude, and concerns about player safety were legitimate. In the end, the NFL found a fix to this solution by moving the Steelers’ bye week up early, an unpopular but arguably necessary decision.
The NFL found themselves in a similar situation as before, with a Ravens team suddenly riddled with COVID positive cases. Their matchup, one that was supposed to take place last Thursday, has now been moved all the way to this Wednesday. Considering what is going on with the rest of the league, the way that the Steelers vs. Ravens game is being treated is nothing short of ridiculous.
The problem isn’t moving the game around. Given the uncharted territory that the world is in right now, a game can and should be moved if it impacts a player’s health. That said, this week is the first week we have seen the NFL seemingly put everything they could in having the Ravens play this week. With the team still testing positive well into the weekend, the game was moved to Tuesday hoping that it would stop the outbreak.
Up and to this point, the NFL was arguably doing everything right. Then, with player tests subsiding yesterday, everything appeared to be on course to have these two teams play on Tuesday. Then, the game suddenly got moved back to Wednesday. This is where the preference for one team over another is being shown, as there is little reason to move this game especially after the weekend of football that was already played.
This isn’t the NFL vs. the Steelers
In fact, this isn’t even the NFL being in the Ravens camp. Instead, it is the league showing preferential treatment to a playoff-caliber team that was set to play a huge matchup with their division leader. Had the Ravens been in last place of the AFC North and had no shot of making the playoffs, this game would have been played on Tuesday, as the impact of the game has little bearing on the rest of the league.
Flip this around, the NFL just saw a 4-6 (at the time) Broncos team be forced to field a rookie receiver Kendall Hinton as their quarterback due to all of their actual quarterbacks being deemed close contacts. Had this been a game with an actual playoff team, this game would have been moved to a later date so at least one of the quarterbacks could play and actually make this a game.
Again, this isn’t the NFL treating the Ravens better, it is them treating a playoff competitor better. More than likely had this been any other top-quality team (including the Steelers), similar preference would have been given. That said, it doesn’t excuse the NFL, as this game should have been played on Tuesday, but for the sake of a more competitive game, it was moved once more.
I’ve already said the Ravens need to be punished heavily for their actions this week. This isn’t due to the Ravens players being in wrong, as it was a coach who caused this outbreak, but his negligence should cost the team because of it. Again, a forfeit would be the worst-case scenario, but a third-round pick or better should be the minimum compensation. While the game itself has been frustrating to get to, if there is no real punishment put onto the Ravens, then talks of the NFL being on their side can truly commence.
Up until the recent game moving, it was easy to put the blame solely on the Ravens for this, as the actions of their coach caused all of this. Now, the NFL finds themselves at the forefront of the issue, as after having made the Broncos play on Sunday without a quarterback, they allowed the Ravens another day to prep for their game. That kind of inconsistent ruling is infuriating and unfair to the rest of the NFL, and the league should be ashamed of how poorly they’ve dealt with this issue.
This doesn’t even mention the issues the Steelers now face. They’ve had to practice on and off for well over a week (which causes wear and tear on their players). As well, their new schedule has them playing three NFL games over the course of 12 days, a brutal schedule for any NFL team. While this isn’t the NFL targeting the Steelers, it is certainly frustrating that it is happening to our team in particular.
As of now, we can all hope that the game goes as planned on Wednesday and the Steelers can move forward with their schedule. That doesn’t mean everything that has happened has been fair, but the best thing for the team right now is to get the win and focus on the Football Team next week. It may be a black eye on the league, but getting this game over with has to be the new priority.