The Pro Football Hall of Fame has canceled the NFL’s preseason-opening game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers and postponed its annual enshrinement ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cowboys and Steelers, who were scheduled to play on Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio, will instead play in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game, and the enshrinement ceremony — originally slated for Aug. 8 — will be held next year.
“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.'”
The Hall of Fame Game marks the first event on the NFL calendar canceled because of the pandemic. The league was able to conduct free agency, albeit in a different way, as well as a virtual NFL draft.
The game’s cancellation is anticipated to affect when the Cowboys and Steelers report to training camp. The Cowboys and Steelers were preparing to be the first two teams to report to camp in about a month but now are likely to report with the rest of the league’s teams.
The majority of teams are scheduled to report to training camp on July 28, but there has been no definitive word from the NFL about whether that will happen. The topic is expected to be addressed in Thursday’s conference call with NFL owners, sources said.
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