PITTSBURGH -- Wednesday afternoon seems like the perfect time for a football game. Thanksgiving night did too, but at this point, as long as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are playing, no one really cares when it's happening.
What's left to say? At this point, the Steelers have had a game postponed three times to accommodate a COVID-19 outbreak within the Ravens' organization. It appears the NFL had legitimate reasons to make the move happen - twice. But a third time? That's when it went too far.
First off, how has a strength and conditioning coach not reporting symptoms and mask violations throughout the facility not resulted in penalties?
Not to compare socks to a pandemic, but JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner's bank accounts took a hit for not having socks all the way up. Mike Tomlin lost $150,000 for celebrating without a mask. But not reporting COVID-19 symptoms is pushed under the rug?
Then, there's the issue of Ravens players forcing their way into a Wednesday afternoon game.
The Steelers wanted to play this game in Week 12. Whether it was moved once, twice, or 100 times, they just wanted to get it over with so they could keep the possibility of a first-round bye in the playoffs.
If a Week 18 happens in the NFL, the postseason schedule removes a first-round bye. The Steelers utilized this week as a rest time for many players after their bye week was promptly moved to Week 4 - halfway through the week. So, keeping an off week before the playoffs remain important for them.
This game could've, and should've, happened on Tuesday, though. The Ravens' outbreak was at the backend, they haven't received any positive COVID-19 tests that the NFL didn't see coming, and if they wanted to, they could've played on Tuesday night and had no worries.
The NFL threw them a bone.
Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a 36-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals after only having a walkthrough to work with. The Denver Broncos played a game without a quarterback - and the league didn't give them a day to adjust.
The Ravens' situation up until Monday afternoon was legitimate. They needed to evaluate the outbreak and assure themselves it was through the team before traveling to Pittsburgh and risking not just one team but two.
The decision to move the game from Tuesday night to Wednesday had no support. It wasn't to assure anyone's safety regarding COVID-19. All it was, was allowing the Ravens to have another day of preparation for a team when the NFL haven't given other teams that same courtesy.
The backlash is deserved. John Harbaugh has dug himself a deeper hole in the eyes of Steelers fans. And the NFL's continued inconsistency in handling this pandemic and their protocols shows once again.
It's been a week of waiting for a game. At this point, the Steelers don't care. All they want to do is play. All the fans want to do is watch.
The NFL made a big mistake this week, though. One that will be the precedent many teams will use when the league tries to tell them tough luck.
The Ravens got special treatment in Week 12. They didn't until Monday afternoon. But in a season where everyone is expecting 31 other teams to have the same "global" challenges as the rest, the NFL just let one club off with a favor.