NFL Reporter Offers Explanation for Odd Ravens-Steelers Start Time

Santa at Heinz Field

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images A Pittsburgh Steelers fan dressed as Santa Claus waves a Terrible Towel at Heinz Field on December 20, 2015.

The National Football League may be the biggest thing on the American sports landscape, but it’s not bigger than Christmas.

That explains why the already thrice-rescheduled Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup is slated to kick off at 3:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday, well within the unfriendly confines of the work day.

According to ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter, NBC wanted the mid-afternoon time because it was “committed” to broadcasting the 88th annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting festivities, which get underway at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday night.

Even one of the best rivalries in the NFL can’t compete with that.

Never mind that this year’s tree was savaged on social media when it was installed, with Los Angeles-based composer Chris Ryan saying “the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree looks like it “tried to cut its own hair.”

Another Twitter user asked if the tree could look any worse—and pronounced it “on brand” for 2020.

Turns out that the folks at Rockefeller Center didn’t appreciate all the Internet critics, though, clapping back with: “Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh? Just wait until I get my lights on! See you on December 2!”

The two-day drive is a reference to the fact that the tree came from Oneonta, in upstate New York, which required a multi-day trip (by truck) to midtown Manhattan.


Rockefeller Tree Lighting 2020: Featured Performers

Tree transportation challenges aside, this year’s celebration is scheduled to feature performances by Jimmy Fallon, Dolly Parton, Kelly Clarkson, Goo Goo Dolls, Earth, Wind & Fire, Brett Eldredge, Tori Kelly, Leslie Odom Jr., Gwen Stefani, Meghan Trainor, and the Radio City Rockettes, among others.

TODAY show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker will serve as hosts, with the lighting ceremony expected to take place at 9:45 p.m. ET.

As for the Steelers and Ravens fans who are fretting about not being able to watch the football game on Wednesday afternoon due to work obligations, well, perhaps it’s not yet worth worrying about. After all, the game has already been rescheduled three times—from Thanksgiving night to Sunday afternoon to Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon—so who’s to say it won’t be rescheduled again?


Steelers’ Zach Banner on the Postponements

That’s kinda what Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner is thinking. Banner, who is out for the year with a torn ACL suffered in the season-opener against the New York Giants, took to Twitter on Monday and quipped, “I’m gonna be healthy by the time we play this game.”

He also jokingly advised that he comes to Twitter for his work updates now.

Then he went on to post a pic of Pittsburgh’s QB1 “in 2034,” by which time the contest will presumably have been played.

Of course, if the NFL does decide to delay the Ravens-Steelers game any further, it may have to reschedule a few other games it has … already rescheduled.

At the moment, Pittsburgh’s next game (after Baltimore) is set to be against Washington at Heinz Field on Monday December 7th at 5 p.m. ET (television network TBD).

The Ravens won’t play again until Tuesday December 8th at 8:05 p.m. (versus the Dallas Cowboys at M&T Bank Stadium).

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Also Read:
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3 Steelers Running Backs Unavailable to Play vs. Ravens


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