Column: Consecutive Christmas Day Games Places Undue Burden On Those Who Work It

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ schedule was announced yesterday. As I said earlier today, I’m not real happy about it.

Yesterday we posted an article about certain members of the Steelers organization expressing their dissatisfaction over the fact that they have been scheduled for the second season in a row—after never having down so in their history prior to then—for a game on Christmas Day.

Many responses came in the form of apathy, essentially asking why I should care that a player being compensated millions of dollars—or at the very least several hundred thousand as the minimum—doesn’t want to work on the holidays, even while so many other people in so many other walks of life who are compensated far less are asked to do the same.

Well, that is what is happening here, too. Where there is a major football game, there are the mechanisms of industry that follow. Every team has its down tag-alongs, and we are they for the Steelers, which means we—which means I—will have to work on Christmas rather than spending it with my family.

It’s not just me, of course. It’s everybody that has to work the game. And not just those who have to work the game—it happens—but those who have to work the game for two years in a row. To be quite frank I have no idea why there are no provisions in the scheduling procedures that prevents a team from having to play on Christmas for two consecutive seasons.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin can talk up the honor angle as much as he wants, to be asked to showcase the game on such a hallowed stage, but it doesn’t do a damn for me while I’m off by myself typing away at the keyboard about the Texans, in Houston ignoring my family.

Again, this isn’t just about me. It’s about everybody else that has to work the game because it is their job to work the game who is being asked to do it two years in a row who are not being compensated anything special for their efforts.

There are provisions for Hard Knocks about who is eligible to be immune as a candidate to appear on the NFL series during any specific season, among them being the previous team to appear on the show. Yet there isn’t one in order to assure that a team doesn’t have to play on Christmas two years in a row? That is baffling to me.

In case you were wondering, yes, the Steelers are the first team in NFL history to have ever been forced to play on Christmas Day in consecutive seasons. Yet they have only been asked to do so twice in their history. The Cowboys have played on Christmas five times, losing three of them. The Oilers/Titans have played four times, while Denver, Kansas City, Miami, and Minnesota have all done so three times.

Doesn’t make me feel any better though. They better win.

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