The NFL’s Hall of Fame Game between the Cowboys and Steelers has been cancelled.
In most years, the NFL knows how to kick off a new season the right way — or at least the preseason. The Hall of Fame Game, which caps off a week in Canton, OH that also features the enshrinement ceremony for the new inductees. In 2020, it was supposed to be the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers meeting but that won’t be happening now.
On Thursday, the league announced that the Hall of Fame Game will be cancelled for the 2020 preseason due to continued concerns surrounding COVID-19. Furthermore, they said that the enshrinement ceremony will be postponed until sometime in 2021. Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker noted that the enshrinement ceremony would likely take place next summer.
As for the Cowboys and Steelers, the NFL has said that the two franchises will meet in the season-opening contest next August, essentially postponing their appearance in the Hall of Fame Game.
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Though it does mean that watching actual pro football is yet another week away in the future, cancelling this game was an easy call for the league. In fact, it could just be the start of more things to come in this regard.
Nixing the Hall of Fame Game was an easy choice for the NFL.
In all honesty, the Hall of Fame Game is inconsequential for the NFL outside of ticket sales, which weren’t going to be an issue anyway amidst the COVID-19 concerns. The starters almost never play for either team and it’s an extra game added to an already questionable four-game preseason for those two teams.
As teams are taking every precaution about their return for training camp and the season starting, the Cowboys and Steelers can now return to camp on July 28 along with the other 30 teams in the league as opposed to reporting early to prepare for the trip to Canton at the beginning of August.
Not only is there now uniformity in that instance, which can only help in limiting the spread of the virus, but it limits the preseason in itself. Some have argued that a shortened preseason with the virus still a major concern would make sense anyway. The NFL’s willingness to do this with the Hall of Fame Game shows that could still be in play as well.
At the end of the day, the league made the right decision to cancel the game. Even if fans miss football, there’s no reason to risk the health of players, coaches and staff members for a meaningless game.