Baltimore has 23 players on the covid list.
That includes 15 starters/major contributors. That includes six players who made the Pro Bowl last season. That includes reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens will nonetheless play the Steelers tomorrow night. It was supposed to be Thursday, then Sunday, but now the NFL ushers in a whole new era: Tuesday Night Football.
This is a test drive. Tuesday Night Football will be a regular thing before too long.
The NFL has every right to play the game. But it’s going to be a joke.
The Ravens are crippled. The Steelers are 10-point favorites. Imagine that, in a game between these rivals.
The Steelers have nothing to gain besides a win. That’s valuable currency when you’re 10-0 and battling for the AFC’s lone bye.
But if the game is close, the Steelers look like dolts, and God forbid they somehow lose. If the Steelers win big, it’s meaningless and they look like bullies.
It’s a marquee game turned to ***t. If you want to celebrate what results from that, feel free. I’d rather see both teams at full strength.
Yesterday’s New Orleans-Denver game was farcical. Covid and breaches of covid protocol left the Broncos without a quarterback. A practice-squad receiver filled in. He completed 1 of 9 passes for 13 yards, tossing two interceptions. The Broncos lost, 31-3.
Who wants to watch that?
More presciently, who would want to watch that in a playoff game? From my latest Trib column:
“Given how [covid protocol] worked in places like Baltimore, Denver and Tennessee, the NFL should consider the bubble option for the playoffs.
The debacles listed are easily brushed aside until they occur in a playoff game. But imagine a Super Bowl participant using a practice-squad receiver at quarterback, or having 23 players on the covid list. That would invalidate the entire season.”
To read the rest of the column, click HERE.