I don’t know how many of you were as annoyed with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ schedule last season as I was, but frankly I wasn’t very happy with it at all. As somebody who is responsible for covering the games as they transpire (and without a newspaper’s salary to compensate for it), the number of holiday games left me frustrated. I did not even blog the Christmas game because I couldn’t conflict with my plans two years in a row.
According to Gerry Dulac, the Steelers have gotten tired of it as well. He noted last night on Twitter when it was announced that the schedules would be revealed tomorrow that the team put in a request to not play on holidays this season.
Steelers schedule will be released 8 pm EST Thursday. I can tell you they requested no holiday games. But we’ll see…
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) April 18, 2018
The Steelers played both on Thanksgiving and on Christmas this past season, as well as on New Year’s Eve. They also played on Christmas last year, and never before in the history of the NFL had any team ever played on Christmas in consecutive seasons.
This year, Christmas will fall on a Tuesday, though Christmas Eve is still on a Monday, so it is within the realm of possibility that they could play on Christmas Eve. Frankly I would be surprised if they were forced to play on Thanksgiving again.
I know that when I wrote an article on the subject last season, many did say that they enjoy the opportunity to watch the Steelers on holidays. I’m sure that’s why the league puts games on holidays—they would avoid it if it was detrimental to their bottom line.
I recognize that it could be good for many fans, though others dislike it. I still think it’s unfair to ask the employees of the teams who have to work holidays to work around the team’s schedule. These are people making marginal salaries, far from the hundreds of thousands to tens of millions the athletes make, working holidays. Most people want to spend holidays with their families.
Of course not everybody will get to do that. The world can’t entirely stop functioning to allow everybody to enjoy a holiday. I get that. And it’s just a day. Etc., etc. I realize nobody is overly concerned with my own personal complaints.
Regardless, it’s clear according to Dulac that the Steelers were not happy with their schedule last year and wanted to do everything they can to avoid a repeat. Teams are allowed to make requests regarding their schedules, but there is no requirement that the schedule makers oblige any of those requests.
I will say that the Steelers’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas Day of 2016 was quite an experience. While it took a defensive letdown, it sure set the stage for Antonio Brown to rise to a moment of football immortality.