Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) falls back to face the onslaught of Baltimore Ravens linebacker L.J. Fort (58) to persist during the Pittsburgh Steelers game against the Baltimore Ravens on November 1, 2020 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD.
Mark Goldman | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
For the third time, the National Football League will postpone their matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12 due to Covid-19.
The league received new Covid-19 test results on Monday, which resulted in a postponement to Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter who wanted to remain anonymous because they cannot speak publicly on league matters. According to ESPN, a member of the Ravens tested positive for Covid-19 in recent tests.
On Monday, the league canceled Baltimore's training session before the team left for Pittsburgh. The Ravens and Steelers were supposed to play on Thanksgiving, but the game was postponed to Sunday. After the NFL identified additional positive results from the Ravens, the league postponed the game to Tuesday.
The ravens showed positive Covid-19 tests for over 20 members. It's the biggest outbreak on an NFL team since the Tennessee Titans episode that resulted in a week four postponement against the Steelers. The Titans were fined $ 350,000 for violating the protocols that led to the eruption.
As of November 17, the NFL said that 95 players and about 175 other staff had tested positive for Covid-19. The NFL has already postponed more than a dozen games and stepped up its safety protocols due to positive cases. But despite the league's stricter rules, further postponements could be in sight.
The NFL expects its latest test results to be in this week and fears that an increase in positive cases due to the holiday could jeopardize week 13 games could also be postponed.
Derrick Henry # 22 of the Tennessee Titans dives with the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 27, 2020 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stephen Maturen | Getty Images
Time for a bubble?
The NFL is at a critical point in its season as rescheduling windows are getting shorter and more games need to be completed before the January playoffs begin. In a conference call with reporters on Nov. 10, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also reiterated the league's plans to host the 2021 Super Bowl on time.
The championship game is scheduled for February 7th in Tampa Bay, and the NFL plans to allow fans in the stadium with a 20% capacity.
There have been discussions about the transition to a bubble, but league leaders have raised mental health concerns when they publicly discussed the matter.
"This is a major stress point and I think we have to acknowledge that this is as much a health and safety issue as this Covid-19 infection," said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, last month.
But over time, the NFL putting playoff-capable teams in multiple bubble environments could be on the table, especially with more breakouts. The move would emulate Major League Baseball, which moved part of its postseason and World Series to Texas after in-market games for the 2020 season.