We haven’t had much luck with the Hall of Fame Game over the last decade. The first game of the NFL season has been cancelled three times in the last 10 years. In 2011, the Hall of Fame Game was cancelled because of the lockout, and this game was called off less than an hour before kickoff in 2016 due to poor field conditions after a bad paint job left the field slick. The 2020 Hall of Fame Game, along with the whole preseason, was called off due to COVID-19.
Two of the most popular teams in the NFL will take part in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game. The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Dallas Cowboys in this year’s game after these two teams were unable to play in 2020. It will be the seventh trip to Canton for both the Steelers and the Cowboys, making these franchises the teams that have taken part in this game the most.
The 2021 NFL Hall of Fame Game will take place on Thursday, August 5, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. This game will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
Ben Roethlisberger will be the starting quarterback for one more year, but he does not play more than a possession or two in Pittsburgh’s first preseason game these days. Mason Rudolph will see some action as well under center, but it’s Dwayne Haskins and Josh Dobbs that will likely get most of the snaps at quarterback. Dobbs is the only quarterback of the quartet that has decent mobility, so there’s a good chance this offense is most productive with him on the field.
First-round pick Najee Harris could see a decent workload on Thursday. Harris told the media that he wanted to see plenty of reps over the weekend since he’s a rookie and new to the league. Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, and Jaylen Samuels will all see reps at running back too.
The offensive line saw a lot of change in the offseason, so the Steelers might give their starters more reps than usual. Four of the five starters from 2020 left in the offseason with Chukwuma Okorafor being the lone returning starter.
The Cowboys are thrilled to have Dak Prescott back, but there is a good chance that Prescott doesn’t take the field on Thursday night. He hasn’t been throwing in training camp to this point, so Garrett Gilbert has seen the majority of the action in his stead. Gilbert, Ben DiNucci, and Cooper Rush will split time under center with the latter two options likely seeing most of the reps.
Amari Cooper will be unavailable on Thursday because of injury, and we aren’t likely to see much out of CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, or Ezekiel Elliott. Tony Pollard could see some nice run in the backfield, and keep an eye on Osirus Mitchell and Cedrick Wilson at receiver.
Dallas’ offensive line figures to be much better in 2021 than it was in 2020. Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are one of the best tackle tandems in the league, and the guards should be good again too. There isn’t a lot of training camp fodder along the offensive line, so we could see the starters longer than normal.
The Cowboys will likely have the edge in the first half since Gilbert has been seeing a lot of first-team reps. Dobbs is dangerous though, and he has the potential to lead the Steelers to a comeback victory in the second half.