Titans vs Bills Will Be Only Third Tuesday Night NFL Game in History—These Were the Other Two

Ahead of the start of the NFL season on September 10, league commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the current campaign could be unprecedented and force professional football to explore previously uncharted territories. It did not take long for Goodell's warning to ring true as the a flurry of coronavirus cases among different teams had the league scrambling to postpone games, while teams were forced to rearrange travel plans at the eleventh hour.

As a result, the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans will take part in only the third Tuesday night game the NFL has ever played. While the TNF acronym has become a staple of professional football since Thursday Night Football made its debut in 2006—the NFL had held Thursday night games as early as in the late 1970s, with some of them occasionally broadcast on ABC and ESPN—Tuesday night football is a collector's item.

To find the last time an NFL game was played on Tuesday, one has to go back a decade when the Minnesota Vikings played the Eagles Philadelphia on December 28, 2010. Originally scheduled for Sunday, the NFL opted to postpone the game by two days—bizarrely, according to Pro Football Reference data, the game started at the unusual time of 8:06 p.m. ET—because a winter storm was zeroing in on Philadelphia.

The New York Times reported at the time that "as much as 18 inches [of snow] had been expected at the stadium, but there was only 12." The storm may not have been as bad as initially feared, but it did enough to derail the Eagles who, despite being 14.5-point favorites, lost 24-14 to Minnesota as Vikings rookie quarterback Joe Webb made his first career start.

Prior to that, the NFL had only ever played on a Tuesday night at the beginning of the 1946 season. As was the case 74 years later, weather conditions again were the reason behind the unusual scheduling as heavy rain forced the league to postpone the season opener between the Boston Yanks and New York Giants to October 1, 1946. Unlike the Eagles, the Yanks were not fazed by the postponement and ran out 17-0 winner in front of the home fans at Braves Field.

The Bills and the Titans will join this exclusive club on Tuesday night, when they collide in Nashville, Tennessee, at 7 p.m. ET in front of CBS cameras. Both teams are still undefeated, but while the Bills last played nine days ago when they won in Las Vegas to improve to 4-0, the Titans have not been on the field since they defeated the Vikings 31-30 in Minnesota in Week 3.

Since the Titans last played in Game 3, 13 players and 11 members of personnel have tested positive to coronavirus.

The outbreak first began when defensive back Greg Mabin tested positive on September 24, before outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen returned a positive test two days later.

The Titans played in Minneapolis on September 28—Bowen did not travel with the team—but by October 1 the NFL was forced to postpone their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after six players and seven team personnel members had tested positive for coronavirus.

A week later, on October 8, the league postponed the Titans home game against the Bills to Tuesday night after Tennessee confirmed 13 players and 10 team personnel members had tested positive.

The Titans received no positive tests on Friday and Saturday and while one staff member tested positive on Sunday there were again no positive tests on Monday, allowing players to practice for a second consecutive day—Tennessee received the green light from the NFL to practice on Sunday afternoon after initially shutting down their facility.

Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans
Duke Williams #82 of the Buffalo Bills runs into the end-zone to score a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter of the game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee,on October 6. Bills and Titans meet in Week 5 of the 2020 NFL season on Tuesday night. Silas Walker/Getty