While the 2020 NFL schedule isn’t likely be released until sometime in the middle of April, we can probably count on the Pittsburgh Steelers having four or more prime-time games listed on it as that’s par for the course. Additionally, there’s probably a decent chance that the Steelers will once again be chosen to play on Thanksgiving in 2020.
The Steelers will play the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 and with that game being played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, it will probably be hard for the NFL schedule-makers to resist the urge to have the two teams play on Thanksgiving. Technically speaking, the Steelers have a one in eight chance of being the Cowboys’ 2020 Thanksgiving opponent.
The Steelers played the Cowboys on Thanksgiving once before in 1991. That game, which took place on November 28th, 1991 and at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX, pitted a youthful Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson against Steelers longtime head coach Chuck Noll, who was in his final season. The two teams were also going in opposite directions at the time.
That 1991 also featured two young quarterbacks facing off in Steve Beuerlein for the Cowboys and Neil O’Donnell for Steelers. That was O’Donnell’s rookie season as well. Beuerlein started that game because quarterback Troy Aikman was dealing with a shoulder injury at the time.
The Cowboys wound up winning that 1991 Thanksgiving Day game against the Steelers 20-10 and if you’re up for reliving that contest, it’s currently available in its entirety on YouTube.
A 2020 Thanksgiving Day matchup would pit new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy against Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. There’s already a bit of a storyline there as McCarthy is a Pittsburgh native.
The Steelers last played on Thanksgiving in 2016 and they beat the Indianapolis Colts on the road 28-7 in a prime-time game. Prior to that, the Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens on the road 22-20 and that contest was also a night prime-time game. Remember what Tomlin did in that game that ultimately resulted in him being fined?
Prior to those two Pittsburgh prime-time Thanksgiving games the Steelers played the Detroit Lions on the road in 1998 and everyone should remember the controversy in that 19-16 overtime loss. In total, the Steelers are 2-6 on Thanksgiving all-time.
Will we see “America’s Team” face off against the team that NFL Films originally wanted to be “America’s Team” in the 1970s? It’s too early to tell as we sit here in January. However, don’t be surprised if when the 2020 NFL schedule is released sometime in April that it includes the Cowboys hosting the Steelers on Thursday, November 26. It makes too much sense for that Thanksgiving matchup to not happen.
UPDATE: The Cowboys 2020 Thanksgiving game is on FOX in 2020 and thus that might make it tough to cross-flex with CBS. Steelers-Cowboys would normally be on CBS if not in prime-time since it’s an AFC road game, per Matt Smith. We’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out but it does seem a lot more unlikely to happen than I originally thought.
FOX has the Cowboys Thanksgiving game next season, and Steelers-Cowboys would be on CBS if not in primetime since it’s an AFC road game. IMO, unlikely that the league takes away one of only two Cowboys games that CBS has (Steelers and Browns).
— Matt Smith (@MattSmithCFB) January 8, 2020
UPDATE No. 2 – Sam Farmer of the LA Times tells me no chance for the Steelers versus Cowboys on Thanksgiving due to Fox having the Dallas game this year.