Rick Zamperin: COVID-19 forces NFL schedule makers to get ultra creative

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, center left, makes a touchdown catch on a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Nick Wass

Nearly a week after they were originally scheduled to play against each other, the COVID-19-ravaged Baltimore Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday afternoon.

You will recall that the AFC North rivals were set to square off in the night game on U.S. Thanksgiving last Thursday.

But the Ravens were hit by a rash of coronavirus cases — at last count, about 10 players are on the reserve/COVID-19 list — and the NFL moved the game from Thursday to Sunday, and then from Sunday to Tuesday night, before finally settling on Wednesday.

Read more: Rick Zamperin’s Week 12 NFL Picks: Bills grab 8th win, Brady can’t keep up with Mahomes

I get the feeling that fans who are trying to keep track of the scheduling shuffle feel like former New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez on the night of his epic ‘butt fumble’ — dazed and confused.

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The constant postponements of this game have forced the league to move Baltimore’s next game against the Dallas Cowboys from this Thursday night to next Tuesday evening, and Pittsburgh’s next outing against the Washington Football Team from Sunday to Monday.

Still with me?

There has been talk of an unprecedented Week 18 in the NFL, but it would apparently only be considered if a team that has already had its bye week can’t play in a given week due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

That’s the situation we have right now, so it’s quite obvious that the NFL doesn’t want to pull the trigger on a Week 18 scenario because it would create havoc with its playoff schedule and the billions of dollars of TV revenue that is at stake.

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Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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