The Pittsburgh Steelers know as well as anybody how daunting a task it can be to go up against the New England Patriots and expect to emerge the victor. To try to do that in their own stadium take it to a whole other level. Just look at last season.
Including the postseason the Patriots posted a 3-5 record on the road, but went undefeated, 10-0, when they got the chance to play at home. The Steelers were among the five teams to get the better of them on their own home soil, but they’ll have to try to repeat that feat up in Foxboro this time, where they have never beaten Tom Brady.
Not that that’s an anomaly. As Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, “it’s hard enough to beat those guys at your place, let alone at their place. And not just for us, but the whole league. What an awesome challenge it’s gonna be”.
The truth is that Roethlisberger himself has actually put up good numbers when he has played in Foxboro. It’s just that Brady has been virtually flawless, and certainly dominant. And some of Roethlisberger’s numbers could be attributed to the Steelers playing with deficits in New England.
This will be cornerback Joe Haden’s first trip up to Foxboro, but his third in his career. While with the Cleveland Browns, he headed up there as a rookie in 2010 and then again in 2016, the final year he was with the Browns before they released him in August of 2017. Cleveland actually beat then in that first game in 2010, 34-14, led by one-year wonder Peyton Hillis, who rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns with over 200 all-purpose yards.
“I’m excited just to go against New England”, Haden said. “They’re just a really good organization, and I know how this rivalry is, so to pop it off from game one, it should be big, and I’m really excited for us to go up there and really measure ourselves up to see where we are to start the season”.
Coming off a 9-6-1 year, a record that even included a win over the Patriots, it might not sound ideal to start the season up in New England, but really, you might as well see how good you can be, or at least how good of an opponent you can go toe-to-toe with, right out of the gates.
Hopefully the team proves to be mature and seasoned enough to handle the atmosphere and the emotions that will com with playing in Foxboro on opening weekend the Patriots won their sixth Lombardi trophy.