I don’t know that there is anybody in the NFL, especially among coaches, who more openly and plainly expresses his love for the game than Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. When you ask him for his reaction to his schedule, he simply says it’s great, because it means football is coming. The nuances don’t matter.
The Steelers’ veteran head coach appeared on NFL Network yesterday to get his reaction to his team’s schedule, and his first response was that he’s never seen a schedule he didn’t like, especially at this time of the year, and that all the details can be worked out later.
“There are going to be some uncomfortable moments in the journey for all of us. I don’t worry too much about that”, he said later on. “As long as I’ve got eight at home, eight on the road, and a bye, I don’t read too much into it”.
“Within the weeks, though, there are some logistical things that we do, appropriately so, as it relates to the game, whether it’s start time, the amount of travel that we have, the length of the week, whether we have additional time like you do on an opening week there on a Monday night game, or with a short week, like we are on a potential Thursday night there on Thanksgiving”, he added. “Those are the things that we’re focused on when we receive a schedule and we’re looking at the challenges that it presents”.
The Steelers’ 2020 regular season schedule doesn’t have a ton of quirks. The furthest that they have to travel is only halfway across the country when they visit the Dallas Cowboys in the middle of the season, and they only play one team coming off of a bye week, for example.
The two most notable things about the schedule for me are the four primetime games—and where they’re slotted—and the layout of the home-and-away splits. They have four home games early on through the first six weeks, but then close out with three road games in their final four. They also have the bulk of their divisional games in the middle of the schedule.
Knowing when the games are all supposed to be played is all well and good. But it only tells us so much, so many months away. As for now, all we can hope is that they actually get to plays these games at their intended times, because for the moment there is lingering uncertainty about even that basic fact.