First NFL game of 2020 gets canceled amid COVID-19 pandemic

Sporting News

The high-profile matchup of Cowboys vs. Steelers, albeit in a preseason game, will have to wait until 2021.

This year's Hall of Fame Game, the NFL's annual preseason opener played on Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend in Canton, Ohio, has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the game, the enshrinement ceremony itself is postponed to next year. The events will take place Aug. 5-9, 2021.

As ESPN notes, this is the first event — live game action or otherwise — that the NFL has had to cancel because of the coronavirus in 2020.

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The Cowboys and Steelers were scheduled to play in the 2020 Hall of Fame Game because a couple of their former coaches, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Cowher, are 2020 inductees as part of the Hall's Centennial Slate.

“The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority,” said David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “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.’”

This also means the Cowboys and Steelers will report to training camp at the same time as the other 30 NFL teams as opposed to an earlier date since the Hall of Fame Game was scheduled to be played a week before the first slate of preseason games.

Those reporting dates reportedly will be discussed on call between the NFL and team owners Thursday.

The modern-era players who will be enshrined as part of the 2020 class are Troy Polamalu, Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James, Steve Hutchinson and Steve Atwater.

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