Are you ready for Wednesday afternoon football?
The Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers Week 12 matchup was given the official all-clear to be played less than three hours before kickoff.
The news comes after the game was postponed three times from its original date on Thanksgiving night.
The division rivals kicked off at 3:40 p.m. ET this afternoon.
The matchup comes after a flock of Ravens players tested positive for COVID-19. After 10 straight days of at least one player testing positive, Baltimore had no positives on Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, allowing for the game to be played. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is out, and running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins aren't expected to play. The Ravens did place safety Geno Stone on the reserve/COVID-19 list before Wednesday's game.
All wasn't clear for the Steelers, however. Pittsburgh placed center Maurkice Pouncey on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and he's out today, Rapoport reported. Backup lineman J.C. Hassenauer is filling Pouncey's spot in the starting lineup, per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. The Steelers announced running back Wendell Smallwood and offensive lineman Anthony Coyle were elevated from the practice squad to the active/inactive roster as COVID-19 replacements.
NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said during a Wednesday conference call that there were zero positive tests today from the Ravens and that the league is confident that there is "no active infection" among the Steelers players and staff.
Commissioner Roger Goodell shed further light on the decision to play the game during an interview at halftime of the game on NBC.
"Our protocols are established with the health and safety of our players and all personnel, coaches included, in mind. And that's our first priority," Goodell said. "And we developed these protocols with our players association and we believe that they've been very effective in identifying, isolating and controlling and containing the virus. In the Baltimore case, we were concerned with the containment. We saw a number of positives over the last 10 days. Our health and safety people and our medical experts, led by Dr. Sills, did a wonderful job of tracing the virus and making sure that we understood where it was generating from, how it was spreading. I think by having the delays of a couple of days, that gave us the confidence that we understood where the virus was coming from, how it was continuing to spread and that we were in the last stage of that and comfortable that the game could be played safely because of that."