I’ll be honest. I don’t get the allure of the NFL schedule release. Predictions quickly won’t mean a thing after the draft, after camp, after injuries struck and teams surprise while others disappoint. The one thing you can look at are the factors that won’t change. That includes travel and for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they’ll do a lot more of that than they have in the past.
In a three year span from 2014 to 2017, 2015 being the only exception, the Steelers traveled the fewest miles of any team. I’m not sure exactly where they stand this upcoming season but it certainly won’t be last. That’s in part thanks three road games over a month span, taking trips to Jacksonville, Denver, and Oakland late in the season.
Via this tweet from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, that adds up to nearly 5000 miles.
From Weeks 11-14, the Steelers will travel 4,840 miles (Jax, Oakland, Denver). And that's before they get a New England-New Orleans gauntlet the next two weeks.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 20, 2018
And as Fowler points out, they get the Patriots/Saints after that stretch in Weeks 15 and 16.
For all of last year, Pittsburgh traveled only 6800 miles, In 2016, that numbers dropped to 5100, or 300 more than this stretch they’ll be on in 2018. And in 2014, they had the fewest with under 6000.
In addition to those three road games, the Steelers will fly out to Tampa Bay (1025 miles) and New Orleans (1094 miles) along with their AFC North road matchups at Cleveland, Baltimore, and Cincinnati.
Total it all up and the Steelers will travel over 13,000 miles in 2018, factoring in the return trip home. The only time they’ve had similar in recent years was 2015, where they flew over 13,000 miles and went 4-4 on the road that season. It’s the only time since 2014 the Steelers haven’t had a winning record away from Heinz Field (5-3 in 2014 and 2016, 7-1 last year) and maybe travel had a little something to do with that.
Let’s just hope the Steelers plane has plenty of leg room. They’ll need it this year.