The NFL has reportedly suffered its first major postponement due to the current global pandemic. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys scheduled for August 6, 2020 will be moved to the 2021 preseason.
The Dallas Cowboys-Pittsburgh Steelers preseason opener at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6 is being canceled and the Hall of Fame's enshrinement ceremony on Aug. 8 is being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, league sources told ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 25, 2020
With the league still holding the 2020 NFL draft this spring, albeit virtually, along with free agency and the announcement of the NFL schedule, the only events which have been affected by the pandemic have been voluntary OTAs and team minicamps. As all the other major sports leagues have missed regular scheduled games, the NFL has had the luxury of being the offseason. It now appears the Hall of Fame Game will be the first officially scheduled NFL contest to be affected.
Along with the game on Thursday, August 6, 2020, the enshrinement ceremony on Saturday, August 8 has also reportedly been moved to next year. Former Steelers Troy Polamalu and head coach Bill Cowher were both scheduled for enshrinement in August. Donnie Shell was scheduled to be part of a special enshrinement class with a ceremony in September which was not included in Schefter’s report as to whether or not it will still take place.
With no Hall of Fame game in 2020, the Steelers and Cowboys will no longer have to begin training camp before the rest of the NFL.
Cowboys and Steelers had been scheduled to report to training camp July 22 – six days ahead of most other NFL teams – because of the Hall of Fame game. But now their reporting date will be pushed back; question is whether others will, too.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 25, 2020
With the league and the NFLPA already reportedly in discussions about cutting down the number of preseason games for the 2020 season, the report date for training camp throughout the NFL could still be moved back in order to maintain the highest amount of safety for players, coaches, and all team personnel. The Steelers have already had to move training camp from St. Vincent College in Latrobe back to Pittsburgh and are planning to use Heinz Field for most of their activities.
As much as some fans we’re looking forward to the Steelers playing in the Hall of Fame Game, the majority of teams are not excited about having to play an extra preseason game. The last time the Steelers played in the Hall of Fame Game they lost kicker Shaun Suisham for the season and ultimately his career.
Whether or not the cancellation of the 2020 Hall of Fame game is the only change to the NFL’s 2020 season or the first of many remains to be seen. As other professional sports leagues are moving forward with starting or resuming their seasons, the NFL has remained optimistic it will be able to proceed with the 2020 regular season as scheduled.
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