It’s been pretty rare that the NFL’s schedulemakers don’t give the Pittsburgh Steelers the maximum allotment of five scheduled primetime games. This season will be one of those rare occurrences, with Pittsburgh on its initial schedule only penciled in to play four games in 2020 under the lights.
The first will be the season opener when they visit the New York Giants, and get a chance to see one of the best college players from the state in recent years, running back Saquon Barkley, who has become the prime mover of the Giants’ offense since Eli Manning’s decline.
After that, they have a long time off before they play at night again, well after their bye week, all the way until Thanksgiving, when they host the Baltimore Ravens. It will be the first time the Steelers host a primetime game on the holiday, though they’ve previously done so a few years ago on Christmas—also against the Ravens, in one of the most memorable games of the past decade.
Two weeks after that begins a two-week stretch of road primetime games against the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, set to face a pair of young quarterbacks in Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. In fact, you can include Daniel Jones and Lamar Jackson from the other primetime games as part of the battle of the new guard versus the old (e.g. Ben Roethlisberger).
While the Steelers won’t get under the lights as often as they typically art, Art Rooney II has no complaints, as he told Missi Matthews last night during a video segment in which he reacted to the announcement of the schedule.
“We’re fine with it. Of course we know that things can change, and in this day and age it probably will change in terms of some of the flex scheduling that goes on”, he said. You might recall that just last season, they did have one game flexed into primetime, which resulted in them playing six night games.
“I think the way the schedule lays out, we’re fine with it”, he added. “Obviously, playing two night games in the northeast in December is going to be interesting, particularly being up there in Buffalo in that time of the year for a night game. People will have to dress warm for that one, that’s for sure”.
One other thing he was glad about is that the Steelers will not have to make any trips to the west coast this year after having to do so multiple times last season, visiting both the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Chargers, though this is a detail of the schedule that they had already known, since the locations of the games were already determined. Only the time of the games had yet to be decided.