The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: What are your initial impressions of the Steelers’ schedule?
It’s quite possible that the release of the NFL schedule yesterday is the last and most significant event for football for some time. At the very least, we shouldn’t expect to hear of any events, short of virtual owners meetings, between now and the start of training camp—when and if there is a training camp.
But the league is clearly planning to get things running on-time, but (almost) any means necessary. The regular season is now officially scheduled to begin in September and run its usual course, albeit with some contingencies that will allow to adaptation, should it prove necessary.
This year, the Steelers have only been scheduled for four primetime games, when they are typically given the maximum allotment of six. In fact, 11 of their games are 1PM EST start times, which is the most that they have had in quite a while.
The most interesting quirk of their schedule for me is the early dominance of home games (four of the first six) versus the road-heavy finish (three of the last four). Because of that trajectory, the Steelers had better get off to a strong start.
Most of the divisional games get taken care of in the middle of the year. Between games six and 11, they play the Ravens twice and the Browns and Bengals once. There are no divisional games in the first five weeks.