It’s hard to imagine that this is what fans are thinking of the National Football League.
Since Thursday, Steelers fans have questioned the transparency between commissioner Roger Goodell and his call-to-action for teams breaking the league’s COVID-19 protocols. It started when Pittsburgh and Baltimore were slated to be the Thanksgiving night game, but after a breakout among the Ravens’ locker room occurred in the days prior, the game was postponed.
After rescheduling it multiple times, the Steelers are now facing a possibility of playing three games in a span of 12 days, and fans believe it is part of some conspiracy to strip them of a perfect season.
Yes, you read that correctly. Fans really believe there is a conspiracy over one team.
What really solidified these beliefs was what happened among the Denver Broncos’ quarterback platoon. The squad, consisting of four QBs, held a team-approved meeting away from the rest of the team without masks, causing a small outbreak and leading to the Broncos playing against New Orleans with no QBs on the depth chart, and a practice squad wide receiver taking snaps with only a day of preparation.
“They were forced to play,” Steeler fans said. “Make the Ravens forfeit since they also veered away from health protocols.”
What fans need to realize is that there are many differences between each outbreak.
The Ravens could not control the source of the outbreak quick enough, which led to additional positive test results as the week progressed, whereas the Broncos identified it quickly, isolated all the QBs from the team and had contact tracing that determined no one else was at risk.
Another factor is that there is no official report for what started the outbreak in the Ravens’ locker room.
If one were to come out before the game, which is scheduled for Wednesday, it would make the consequences for them more dire, since it would prove whether or not there was any deliberation from protocol or if it was a freak incident.
If it’s reported that the Ravens intentionally broke protocol to either avoid playing Pittsburgh or from ignorance, then yes, the game should go as a forfeit, and the Steelers should pick up the win. Until then, we’re left to speculate.
But regardless of how protocol was broken, there is no possible way the Steelers can get screwed out of an undefeated season via conspiracy theory. Plus, for as sour as it sounds, wouldn’t fans WANT Pittsburgh to lose here soon?
Think about it, the longer Pittsburgh stays undefeated, they are more at risk of losing in either the AFC Championship round or, worst of all, the Super Bowl, due to the added pressure of staying perfect.
It happened in Super Bowl XLII when Eli Manning and the New York Giants tarnished the New England Patriots’ dreams of a perfect end to a perfect season. Granted, David Tyree made a catch that would normally have a catch percentage of 30 percent or less, but the concept stands that no one is guaranteed a Super Bowl win even if a team had zero losses during the regular season.
While looking back on the regular season, the Steelers, realistically, should have three losses right now. One being to the Dallas Cowboys who led the entire game and ultimately blew it with less than five minutes in the game.
So, fans need to take a step back and see that the Steelers would put themselves in a losing scenario without the assistance of a league-wide conspiracy.
Just be thankful that you’re not trailing behind Cleveland in the NFC North.