NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defends Ravens postponement, Broncos inaction

He repeated the NFL’s stance: that it will not postpone games if there was an outbreak “even within a position group if we feel comfortable the rest of the team was not at risk.”

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended his decision to postpone the Ravens game six days because of a coronavirus outbreak — and not do the same for the Broncos when a position group was wiped out. 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended his decision to postpone the Ravens game six days because of a coronavirus outbreak — and not do the same for the Broncos when a position group was wiped out.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday defended the league’s decision to postpone the Ravens-Steelers game six days because of a coronavirus outbreak — and not do the same for the Broncos when all of their quarterbacks were wiped out.

The Ravens-Steelers game, scheduled for Thanksgiving night, was played Wednesday afternoon without a dozen Ravens players, including quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.

The Broncos, meanwhile, played their game against the Saints on Sunday despite all of their quarterbacks being in isolation. Three were deemed close contacts of Jeff Driskel, who tested positive, and were fined for not following league protocol.

The Broncos lost by 28 points and played a practice-squad receiver, Kendall Hinton, at quarterback.

Goodell said Wednesday that the Ravens game was postponed “to ensure that we have confidence that the virus was contained.” Every Ravens player scheduled to play Wednesday passed a coronavirus test in the morning, causing Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, to say that there was “no active infection” among the traveling party.

Goodell said the decision he made was similar to the league postponing games earlier this season after the Titans and Patriots tested positive.

He repeated the NFL’s stance: that it will not postpone games if there’s an outbreak within a position group “if we feel comfortable the rest of the team was not at risk.” He said all NFL clubs have known that stance all season long.

Goodell said the NFL’s goal is to safely complete the regular season and that “all the options are on the table” to ensure the postseason is played safely.

However, he dismissed the notion of putting playoff teams in a traditional bubble, in which they’re all housed and play games in the same neutral-site city.

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