If anyone in Pittsburgh was pining to see Tom Brady back at Heinz Field, well, that individual is going to be disappointed.
Thanks to a reported schedule change, Tampa Bay’s week one preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been cancelled. The contest was scheduled to be played on Friday Aug. 14, but the league is reducing the NFL preseason by half, getting rid of the first and fourth weeks of the schedule.
That means that Tom Brady’s first appearance in an NFL uniform other than that of the New England Patriots will be delayed at least a week—perhaps more. If the latest reports are to be believed, it appears that the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) may be looking to cancel the preseason entirely.
Now some will argue that Brady wouldn’t have suited up in Pittsburgh anyway, as most franchise quarterbacks sit out the first week of the preseason—and sometimes entire preseasons. But Brady may have been looking forward to the opportunity to get some game time with his Tampa Bay teammates ASAP.
To be sure, Brady has been going out of his way to work out with his new teammates—and making no secret about it. In fact he has drawn the ire of the NFLPA for continuing those workouts. Never mind the other little transgressions from earlier in the offseason.
When and Where Will We See Tom Brady in a Bucs Uniform?
Now one might assume that Tom Brady’s first appearance with the Buccaneers will now come against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa—the second game on the Bucs’ preseason schedule.
But even if the NFL decides to go ahead with weeks two and three of the preseason, it’s possible that the Buccaneers will get a new opponent—or a change of venue.
That’s because the NFL reportedly wants to make sure that every NFL team gets one home preseason game.
As it stands now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—along with the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys—are scheduled to play two home preseason games. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins are slated to play two road preseason games.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the league plans to shuffle the preseason schedule, to ensure the desired balance.
One change seems easy, as the Chiefs are scheduled to play the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Aug. 29. Moving that game to Arrowhead Stadium would seem to solve one problem.
However, the remainder of the matchups in question present more complicated logistical issues. Stay tuned.
NFL May Require Fans to Sign COVID-19 Waiver
In one other bit of related news, Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com is reporting that the NFL is considering a requirement that fans attending games sign liability waivers, which would be designed to protect the league from lawsuits that stem from contracting COVID-19.
“It is probably something you do electronically, just trying to figure out the operational challenges associated with waivers,” an unnamed source told Kaplan. “Just have to work out how best to do that.”