So far, the NFL hasn’t been affected by the coronavirus the way other sports have. That is starting to change, though, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame canceled its Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.
In addition to the game being canceled, the 2020 Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony has been postponed to next year. Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James, Troy Polamalu, Bill Cowher, Jimmy Johnson, Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue, and George Young were to be inducted this year.
It’s only the third time that the game has been canceled. It was canceled in 2016 due to poor field conditions and in 2011 on account of a lockout.
“The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority,” David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans ‘Twice the Fun in ’21.'”
Since the Hall of Fame game is canceled, the Cowboys and Steelers will report to training camp in late July with the rest of the league.
The beginning of training camp is expected to be discussed in a video conference meeting, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Hall of Fame Game is the first NFL event to be canceled due to COVID-19 after the draft and free agency were held virtually.
Despite the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL is still planning on starting its season on time.