UPDATE: 10/1 11:45 a.m. ET: For the latest on the status of the Steelers-Titans game see: Steelers-Titans Postponed, Tennessee’s Facility Closed Indefinitely.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled to play the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Sunday, and the NFL “wants and intends” to play the game, this according to ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter. At the same time, the league already has a contingency plan in place, in which the game would be moved to Monday night.
NFL wants to and intends to play the Titans-Steelers game as scheduled Sunday; one of the contingency plans to allow for additional testing and contact tracing to occur would be to move the game to Monday night, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 29, 2020
Moving the game to Monday night would have at least two benefits from the league’s perspective. First, it would allow more time for contract tracing and (additional) COVID-19 testing to take place. Second, it would potentially provide time for the Titans to practice at least once or twice before the game.
The Titans closed their facility and suspended all in-person activities early Tuesday morning after learning that three players and five other members of the organization had tested positive for COVID-19. The organization says its facilities will remain closed until Saturday.
NFL reporter Mike Garafolo reports that Titans coaches have advised their players that they should be prepared to play on Sunday (or Monday), even if they don’t practice this week and do nothing more than a walkthrough on Saturday.
#Titans coaches have told players if they have to go without any work until Saturday, have a walkthrough then and play the #Steelers Sunday then that's what they'll have to do. No excuses. https://t.co/itr0rxkNWs
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 29, 2020
The NFL has moved games from Sunday to Monday before, typically because of natural disasters or stadium issues, including the collapse of the inflatable roof at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis in December 2010.
The Steelers-Titans game is the first Titans game this season in which fans will be permitted to attend.
Alternatives to a Monday Night Football game?
If Steelers-Titans isn’t played on Sunday afternoon or Monday night, the league could conceivably make alterations to the NFL schedule in Weeks Seven and Eight to make up the game. In that scenario three teams would be affected.
The Steelers play at Baltimore in Week Seven while the Titans have a bye. Meanwhile, the Ravens and Steelers both 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. That would result in three consecutive road games for the Steelers, but that is hardly unusual from an NFL scheduling perspective.
On the other hand, it would mean that the Steelers wouldn’t play their second road game until Week Seven. Also, it would give Baltimore a bye week before its home game vs. Pittsburgh.
Javon Hargrave Struggling in Philadelphia?
In other news from around the NFL, former Steelers nose tackle Javon Hargrave has already been called out by his defensive coordinator in Philadelphia, saying he “wasn’t playing his best ball” during the team’s Week Two game against the Los Angeles Rams when he logged just 25 snaps. Hargrave’s snap count did rise to 32 during Philadelphia’s Week Three tilt against the Cincinnati Bengals, albeit the game did go to overtime.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line will have to contend with Hargrave in Week Five, when the Eagles visit Heinz Field.
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