Last year’s NFL MVP, quarterback Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
Assuming that this game is still going to be played on Sunday after being rescheduled on Wednesday afternoon, which at this point is definitely in question, the Ravens will be without Jackson against the vaunted Steelers defense.
The league will be making its decision on how to handle this game, already moved from Thanksgiving to Sunday, today, according to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.
“Per a league source with direct knowledge of the situation, decisions have not been made regarding whether the game will proceed on Sunday and, if not, when it will happen,” Florio wrote Thursday night. “A decision, as of Wednesday, was expected to be made on Friday. A decision, as of right now, is expected to be made on Friday.”
Adding to the confusion of how to handle this situation, the Ravens have disciplined a strength and conditioning coach for breaking COVID-19 protocols. Weighing the competitive nature of the situation will be a fascinating thing to monitor — rescheduling the game after the Ravens broke protocols would essentially reward them for doing so.
If they believe it is safe, they will want this game played on Sunday. If the Ravens have to forfeit the game, then no players from either team get paid. Nobody wants that. However, the Steelers probably don’t want to play a team that is currently having an outbreak. Essentially, there is no good answer, and it all sucks.
The best-case scenario is that they determine the outbreak is contained and they play Sunday, but if it hasn’t been contained, then it becomes a logistical nightmare. Honestly, the league brought this clusterfuck upon themselves by essentially scheduling the season and hoping that magically it just works out. Not having a contingency plan – a Week 18, multiple bye weeks, something – falls squarely on their shoulders.