The 2020 NFL regular season schedule is set to be released Thursday night and when it is, chances are good it will have Pittsburgh Steelers playing at home in Week 1.
The Steelers last opened an NFL regular season at home in 2014 against the Cleveland Browns and they won that game 30-27. Since then, however, they are the only team to have not opened an NFL regular season at home in the last five seasons. Instead, the Steelers have opened on the road the last five consecutive years against the New England Patriots (2015, 2019), Washington Redskins (2016) and Browns (2017, 2018). Their two games against the Patriots and one against the Redskins were primetime affairs as well.
So, how rare is it for a team to go five consecutive seasons without having at least one Week 1 home game? It’s actually happened quite a few times since 2000. The Chicago Bears (2005-2009), Dallas Cowboys (2008-2012), Detroit Lions (2007-2011) and New York Giants (2013-2017) have each had spans of five consecutive seasons without a Week 1 home game since 2000. Additionally, the Cincinnati Bengals (2010-2016) and Denver Broncos (2005-2010) each went a span of six consecutive seasons without having a Week 1 home game since 2000.
In case you’re curious, the Steelers are 20-11-1 at home in Week 1 games in the Super Bowl era since 1966. Additionally, they are 8-1 all-time at Heinz Field to open a regular season. Their lone Week 1 loss at Heinz Field came in 2013 against the Tennessee Titans.
A few early schedule leak rumors point to the Steelers opening at home in 2020 against the Philadelphia Eagles. If that’s ultimately what the Thursday night schedule release shows, it will mark the first time that the two teams have opened an NFL regular season against each other in Pittsburgh since 1952. That game, which was played at Forbes Field, was won by the Eagles 31-25.
If the Steelers do wind up opening at home in 2020 but not against the Eagles, their opponent will be either the Baltimore Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Redskins, Broncos, Houston Texans or Indianapolis Colts. A few other rumors point to teams not being scheduled to play within their own division in Week 1 because of fears those contets could evebtualy be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. If that rumor winds up being true, that would leave the Steelers possibly playing the Eagles, Redskins, Broncos, Texans or Colts at home to open the 2020 regular season.