Hall of Fame game canceled: Cowboys-Steelers reportedly called off, HOF ceremony postponed due to pandemic
Over the past few weeks, the NFL has discussed the possibility of shortening the preseason this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and although it’s currently unknown how many games might be canceled, it appears one of them has already gotten the ax.
According to ESPN.com, the NFL decided to cancel the Hall of Fame game between the Cowboys and Steelers, which was scheduled to be played on Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine didn’t sound optimistic about the game happening when he was asked about it last week. The league has also decided to postpone the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was supposed to happen on Aug. 8.
The enshrinement ceremony, which was going to include the induction of candidates like Bill Cowher, Jimmy Johnson and Troy Polamalu will now take place in 2021. The Cowboys and Steelers are also expected to be the two teams playing in the Hall of Fame game when it returns next year, according to ESPN.
The Steelers and Cowboys are two of at least 10 teams that have had at least one player test positive for COVID-19 this offseason.
The league’s decision to cancel the game is a big one, and that’s because it marks the first time this year that the NFL has had to cancel anything due to the pandemic. For the past three months, it’s been as close as possible to business as normal for the NFL, which has held free agency and its draft. Before Thursday, the only big change the NFL had really made was the decision to pull the draft out of Vegas in order to hold it virtually.
As far as the rest of the NFL’s preseason goes, the league has been talking about the possibility of shortening things down from four games to two games, although nothing has officially been decided yet. As of right now, training camp is expected to still happen as scheduled. The current plan is for players to arrive for camp on July 28.
Despite the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game, the NFL is still reportedly optimistic that the 2020 season will be able to start on time. The league is still finalizing its protocols for the year, and one thing that’s almost certainly going to happen is a lot of testing. NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer announced on June 16 that players will likely be tested up to three times per week to prevent the spread of the virus.
The NFLPA has been doing everything in its power to prevent the spread of the virus amongst players. Over the weekend, the player’s association issued an advisory asking players to stop working out together. With the country now dealing with an uptick in cases and with training camp around the corner, the NFL has decided to not take any chances with the virus.