NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the three schedule changes for this weekend in a memo to the 32 teams, which PFT obtained.
“Our expectation is that these games will be played at the rescheduled times and will not be moved to a later date or time during the week of December 20,” Goodell wrote in the letter to club executives, General Managers and head coaches.
Last year, the Steelers-Ravens game was moved three times from Thanksgiving to the Sunday after Thanksgiving to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
The three postponements announced Friday are the first for the league this season. The NFL is attempting to allow teams with COVID-19 outbreaks additional time to get players back on the field.
The Raiders will play at Cleveland on Monday at 5 p.m. ET with the NFL Network televising the game and an over-the-air broadcast in the home cities of the two teams. The game originally was scheduled for Saturday.
The Washington at Philadelphia game will kickoff Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. Fox will regionally televise the game and Sunday Ticket subscribers also can view it. It originally was scheduled to be played Sunday.
The Seattle at Rams game also has moved to 7 p.m. ET Tuesday from Sunday. It, too, will have regional coverage on Fox and be available to Sunday Ticket subscribers.
“From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, our focus has been to play our games in a safe and responsible way, consistent with the best available medical and public health advice, based on protocols jointly developed and implemented with the NFL Players Association,”‘ Goodell wrote. “A key element of our success to date has been our commitment to working with our union and our respective medical experts to make needed adjustments in response to changing conditions.
“The emergence of the Omicron variant is precisely the kind of change that warrants a flexible response. Based on medical advice, we have instituted additional protocols as well as revised testing protocols for reinstating players and staff who have tested positive. We have also considered whether certain games should be rescheduled in light of current conditions. Decisions to reschedule or cancel games will continue to be made in accordance with the principles outlined in my memorandum of July 22, 2021.”
The memorandum from July 22 included the following:
◼ We will make every effort, consistent with underlying health and safety principles, to
play our full schedule within the current 18 weeks.
◼ Each club is obligated to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place.
There is no right to postpone a game, and games will not be postponed or rescheduled
because of roster issues affecting a particular position group or particular number of
◼ If games are postponed, we will make every effort to minimize the competitive and
economic burden on the participating teams, as well as our fans and business partners.
◼ The seeding and tie-breaking procedures approved by the membership for the 2020 season remain in place and will be used if necessary for the 2021 season.