The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly looked poor on Thursday night against the division rival Baltimore Ravens, dropping the second game of the season in Maryland by a score of 26-6 on the back of three turnovers.
But it’s not particularly surprising that a road team lost on Thursday night. In fact, it’s an inordinately frequent occurrence.
According to a statistic cited by Dale Lolley, following the Steelers’ loss earlier this week, road teams are now just 24-42 on Thursday Night Football.
The regularly featured Thursday night games premiered under current commissioner Roger Goodell’s regime, and since then, it’s evidently become a platform for home team dominance in an out of the ordinary way.
Home teams should not win nearly two-thirds of all contests on one specific platform. According to Sporting Charts, home teams come out victorious about 58 percent of the time, with a record of 3125-2255-4 from 1990 to 2011.
The Steelers, in fact, were tied with the Green Bay Packers for the best home record in that 11-year span, winning 127 of 176 home games. But that was a winning percentage that was substantially higher than average.
And thanks to the inquisitiveness of one Twitter follow, I’ve learned that, since Thursday Night Football began in 2006, the Steelers have gone 6-4 in those contests, with each of the four losses coming as the road team.
Being asked to accomplish a short turnaround in the early part of the season, especially with so many young players on the field, and other new moving parts in general, is only exacerbated by having to travel and play in front of an unwelcome audience.
Not only do the rookies lose valuable mid-week reps and film study, which is most crucial in the beginning of the season, many players are still far from fully conditioned, and according to at least one Ravens player, the Steelers exhibited that all over the field.
Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele told Baltimore Sunwriter Jeff Zrebiec that the Steelers defenders were literally throwing up on the field.
“We couldn’t even get one of the plays off as fast as we wanted to because the dude [linebacker Lawrence Timmons] threw up right where [center Jeremy Zuttah] was trying to snap the ball. They had guys throwing up. They were definitely wearing down.”
It was a performance that had many in Steelers Nation throwing up in the comfort of their own homes as well. While the circumstances of a Week Two mid-week game may not excuse the vomit-inducing display, it is just another example that Thursday Night Football is not such a good idea. Even if it’s not going away any time soon.