NFL Still Planning Steelers-Titans Game Sunday Despite Positive COVID Cases

Several positive COVID-19 cases this week in the Tennessee Titans organization won't stop the NFL from keeping a game planned this Sunday as scheduled. The Titans on Tuesday announced that three of its players and five team personnel had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Titans said they will close its team facilities for a week, and that the team would work remotely in case their game would still be played against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday in Nashville.

Later Tuesday, the NFL indicated it would move forward with the Sunday game, at least for now. The Titans have stated they may not see each other as a team until Saturday, which would entail just a walk through before Sunday afternoon's game.

When the NFL learned of the positive cases in Tennessee, it immediately sent a memo to the other 31 teams in the league, stating it would evaluate the Titans' situation.

"This is not unexpected," the memo from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in the press release. "There will be players and staff who test positive during the season."

The commissioner went on to say the virus can affect anyone those people come in contact with, from the immediate bubble of the team to their families.

"Each of us has a special responsibility to keep others safe and healthy," Goodell stated. "What each of us does affects not only ourselves and our immediate families, but many others on our own club and on other clubs."

Tennessee Titans and COVID-19 Positive Results
Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates with offensive coordinator Arthur Smith at the end of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Titans defeated the Vikings 31-30. Three players and five team personnel for the Titans have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Goodell's memo went on to state the following steps would be taken while evaluating the situation:

  • Those who tested positive will be isolated, monitored and given adequate and necessary medical care
  • Family members of those players will be offered testing, per protocols from the players union
  • Game officials who worked the last Titans game (at Minnesota last Sunday) will be tested and monitored
  • In-person activities for both the Titans and Vikings will be suspended this week until further notice (no Vikings players or personnel have tested positive yet)
  • The league is exploring where the positive cases originated (locker rooms, meeting rooms, flights, etc)

The Steelers are scheduled to play at the Tennessee Titans at 1 p.m. ET Sunday. The game is of particular interest, and not only because of the current COVID situation. Of the seven remaining undefeated teams in the NFL, these are two of them.

The Titans made the playoffs last year as a wild card and made a run to the AFC championship game, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

The Steelers are one game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. The Ravens, who had last season's regular-season best record, lost Monday night to the Chiefs. The Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills are the AFC's other undefeated teams. In the NFC, the undefeated teams remaining are the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks.