If the N.F.L. schedules a recreation for a Wednesday, it’s a protected wager that one thing went incorrect. From a presidential speech to Pennsylvania’s restrictive blue legal guidelines to a velodrome flooded with mud, the league tends to maneuver its contests to that day of the week solely as a final resort.
That is definitely the case for Wednesday’s recreation between the Baltimore Ravens and the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, which was initially scheduled for a major time spot on Thanksgiving. The recreation was later moved to Sunday afternoon due to a coronavirus outbreak among the many Ravens, then pushed to Tuesday night time when the outbreak unfold to have an effect on over 20 individuals and lastly ended up on Wednesday.
A glance again at Wednesday video games all through N.F.L. historical past reveals the league might not play on the day fairly often, however Wednesdays have offered greater than their truthful share of indelible reminiscences.
2012: The Giants Eat Humble Pie
With President Barack Obama scheduled to talk on the Thursday of the Democratic National Convention in 2012, the N.F.L.’s conventional season opener was moved someday earlier. The defending-champion Giants hosted Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys and promptly had a lot of the keenness for the earlier season’s triumph fade away with a 24-17 loss to their division rivals.
“It takes a bite out of humble pie,” Coach Tom Coughlin mentioned of the loss.
The humbling continued because the Giants went 9-7 that season and missed the playoffs, although they did handle the considerably uncommon distinction of enjoying on 4 completely different days of the week that 12 months. In addition to their 13 Sunday Games, the Giants performed video games on a Monday, a Wednesday and a Thursday.
1948: The One With the Helmets
As a part of a selection out begin to the 1948 season, the Los Angeles Rams performed the Detroit Lions on Sept. 22. It was the league’s first Wednesday recreation since 1940, when it was a extra frequent prevalence, and its final one till 2012.
Far extra important than the day of the week was a uniform innovation that got here courtesy of Los Angeles halfback Fred Gehrke. Thanks to Gehrke, who had been an artwork main in school, the Rams turned the primary N.F.L. workforce to play an everyday season recreation with logos on their helmets.
Gehrke hated the plain brown leather-based helmets of the period, so he painted one blue and added the workforce’s now-familiar yellow horns. The Rams’ proprietor, Dan Reeves, preferred the design and Gehrke spent the summer season adorning 75 helmets to be used in the 1948 season, amassing a $1 charge for every helmet he painted.
Gehrke would finally turn out to be normal supervisor of the Denver Broncos, however he was nicely conscious of the place he made his mark.
“I spent the better part of my life in football, and I’ll be best remembered for some work I did with a paintbrush, but that’s OK,” Gehrke told Sports Illustrated in 1994. “I’ve been called the da Vinci of football helmets, and that’s not all bad.”
1929: The N.F.L.’s First Night Game
Helmet design isn’t the one soccer innovation to make its debut on a Wednesday, because the N.F.L. additionally performed its first night time recreation on a Wednesday, method again in 1929.
In the early days of the league, the Providence Steam Roller performed their dwelling video games on the Cycledrome, a bicycle racing stadium in Rhode Island. A recreation in opposition to the Chicago Cardinals was unplayable due to heavy rains, however in a chaotic monetary atmosphere led to by the current stock market crash, the workforce’s gamers have been unwilling to skip per week of pay. So the Steam Roller brass organized a make-up recreation for Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Kinsley Park, a minor-league baseball stadium that had not too long ago put in lights.
The Providence Journal recorded a crowd of 6,000 for the sport in which the ball was painted white, giving it “the appearance of a large egg” in hopes that gamers would see it higher. The matchup, a part of a stretch of 4 video games in six days for Providence, resulted in a 16-0 loss for the Steam Roller, however it was a monetary success.
Seeing that the long run would come with extra night time video games, the financially struggling Steam Roller weren’t performed innovating. At least one Providence participant, Tony Latone, had a clause written into his 1930 contract that known as for him to obtain solely 60 p.c of his common pay for night time video games. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the workforce claimed the financial savings would go towards gentle upkeep.
1933-1936: Familiar Territory for Pittsburgh
While Wednesdays are an uncommon day for an N.F.L. recreation, they’re considerably acquainted territory for the Steelers, or no less than they have been in the early days of the franchise.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, because the workforce was initially recognized, started play in 1933 and due to the restrictive blue laws in Pennsylvania, they weren’t initially allowed to play dwelling video games on Sundays. As a outcome, the primary 4 video games in Steelers historical past have been performed on Wednesdays.
Heavy political lobbying — largely meant to elevate a monetary burden on the much more in style baseball groups of the state — had the foundations eased significantly, opening the door for Sunday soccer. But Pittsburgh didn’t abandon Wednesdays fully, with the workforce showing in 10 of the N.F.L.’s 13 Wednesday video games from 1933 to 1936, going 4-6.
Despite that prolonged run of Wednesday play, the Steelers don’t maintain the file for video games performed on Wednesdays. The Detroit Lions, who’re considerably synonymous with enjoying on Thanksgiving, additionally maintain the file for Wednesday video games, enjoying in 13 of them from 1930 to 1948, first because the Portsmouth Spartans and later underneath their present title.