Steelers-Titans Game in Doubt After COVID-19 Outbreak


Adam Bettcher/Getty Images Head coach Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings greets head coach Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 27, 2020.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled to play the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Sunday, but the game is suddenly in doubt. This morning NFL Network reported that three Tennessee Titans players tested positive for COVID-19, along with five other members of the organization.

As a result, the Titans—as well as the Minnesota Vikings, who played the Titans in Minnesota this past weekend—have suspended all in-person club activities. The players and personnel will quarantine, and others who were in close contact with those who tested positive will have to test negative before they rejoin team activities.

The Titans have said they are closing their facilities until Saturday and they will continue preparing for the Steelers game remotely, which means they will be unable to practice.

There is no word yet as to which Titans players and personnel tested positive. However, NFL reporter Albert Breer has advised that “all 5 non-players to test positive were football staff, and part of the Minnesota traveling party,” and at least some of the five were coaches.

Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen tested positive for coronavirus last week, but he is not one of the eight positive tests reported today.

The Vikings released a statement advising that no COVID-19 test administered by the team has come back positive.

In August, the NFL created an outside advisory committee to advise Commissioner Roger Goodell on issues related to COVID-19, a committee that includes Troy Polamalu.

Steelers Reaction

Meanwhile, the Steelers released a statement in response to the news, which said:

“We have been in contact with the NFL regarding the positive COVID-19 tests with the Titans. We have been informed to proceed with our game preparations for Sunday’s game until we are informed otherwise. We will provide more information when available.”

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had a press conference scheduled for Noon Eastern on Tuesday, but that has been postponed until later in the day.

Alternatives if the Steelers-Titans Game is Postponed

If Sunday’s game is postponed, the league could conceivably make alterations to the schedule in Weeks Seven and Eight to make up the game. The Steelers play at Baltimore in Week Seven while the Titans have a bye. Meanwhile, the Ravens and Steelers have Week Eight byes. The NFL could conceivably move the Steelers-Titans game to Week Seven and the Steelers-Ravens game to Week Eight, in which case Baltimore would get its bye in Week Seven.

The league might also postpone Sunday’s game until Monday night, to give all parties more time to determine whether the Steelers-Titans game can go forward—and to give the Titans more time to prepare.

The Steelers-Titans game was expected to be the first Titans game in which fans were allowed to return to Nissan Stadium, as per Mayor John Cooper.

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