On Wednesday the NFL announced that the Pittsburgh Steelers–Tennessee Titans game, originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, will be rescheduled “to allow additional time for further daily COVID-19 testing and to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel.”
At this time it appears the plan is to move the Steelers-Titans contest to either Monday or Tuesday, this as per NFL reporter Albert Breer.
The announcement came in the wake of news that yet another Titans player has tested positive for COVID-19.
All this after Tuesday’s news that three Titans players had tested positive, along with five other Titans employees. Those players included defensive lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin subsequently held a press conference indicating that the Steelers were “given a mandate to prepare as if the game is going to be played….” He also said: “We have gone about [our] business from a game-planning standpoint with that mentality….”
It’s unclear how this will affect the prospect of fans attending the Steelers-Titans contest, which was expected to be the first Titans game this year in which fans would be allowed at Nissan Stadium, this as per Nashville mayor John Cooper.
Steelers and Titans in Week Five
The postponement could ultimately lead to competitive imbalance issues for next week’s games involving the Steelers and Titans. The Steelers are scheduled to host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday October 11 while the Titans are planning to host the Buffalo Bills that same afternoon.
Meanwhile, the league sent what Adam Schefter of ESPN described as a “strongly-worded memo” to team executives, general managers and head coaches (not to mention public relations directors and athletic trainers), urging them to be in compliance with game-day protocols and threatening to punish lack of compliance with suspensions and/or loss of draft picks.
The above-referenced Albert Breer subsequently tweeted out a copy of that memo, which came from NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent.
It reads, in part: “Both our own and independent medical advisors have emphasized the need to remain vigilant and disciplined in following the processes and protocols put in place by agreement with the NFLPA as well as by state and local governments. We are only through Week 3 of the season. If we are to play a full and uninterrupted season, we all must remain committed to our efforts to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus….”
The memo goes on to remind recipients that “A failure to adhere to the negotiated protocols or to government directives can have an adverse impact on both other players or staff members of your club, and of other clubs as well.”
And while fines have already been levied for violations of game-day protocols, the memo advises that future accountability measures may also include “suspensions of persons involved, and/or the forfeiture of a draft choice(s).”
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