The NFL released the full 2021 schedule last Wednesday. It included the Pittsburgh Steelers opening on the road for a seventh consecutive season, playing the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 in Buffalo. The last time the Steelers had a home opener in Week 1 was in 2014 against the Cleveland Browns. The current streak is by far the longest in the NFL at this point. Longtime NFL writer Peter King, however, doesn’t see why it’s such a big deal that the Steelers are opening the season on the road for the seventh consecutive year, and doesn’t understand why fans of the team are so upset about with the steak.
“Some attention’s been paid to the Steelers opening their season for the seventh straight year on the road; Pittsburgh at Buffalo is the highlight of the Week 1 Sunday early window games. Not sure why this is a flashpoint for Steeler fan anger,” King wrote in his weekly ‘Football Morning In America’ column. “Pittsburgh’s 3-2-1 in the previous six road openers—with the two losses coming at defending Super Bowl champ New England. How I’d look at it: In those two seasons, you’ve got your toughest game of the season out of the way in Week 1. And in 2021, you’ve got nine home and seven road games after the opener. It’s just not that big a deal, where you open the season.”
Well, I am glad King has set us all straight on that. Obviously, he knows what is best for all teams. He certainly is the supreme ruler when it comes to what is fair and not fair in the NFL and especially when it comes to the schedule.
It’s one thing for a team to open on the road three or four years in the road, but seven consecutive times is about three too many. Sure, every season is a new season, but maybe King should think about how some fans would just like to attend a Week 1 home game to experience the thrill of a new NFL season getting underway.
“It would be nice to open at home once in a while,” Steelers team president Art Rooney II said last week about the team’s 2021 schedule. “It’s not the biggest deal in the world. We open on the road and then we come back with two home games, so it’s fine. It’s not that big a deal, but I would say we’re due for a home opener, that’s for sure.”
No, opening on the road is not a death sentence for the Steelers. It’s obvious that the conflict with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2021 schedule probably once again played a role in another Week 1 road game. The Pirates host the Washington Nationals on the afternoon of Sept. 12, so the Steelers were unable to host a day game at Heinz Field that same Sunday. The reasoning for that is mostly because of PNC Park being near Heinz Field, and that the two teams share parking lots for their respective venues.
About the only way the Steelers could have had a Week 1 home game this year would have been had they been given a Week 1 Monday night game at Heinz Field. That obviously didn’t happen, however.
Maybe King should worry more about what is fair and not fair when it comes to Hall of Fame voting and thus worry less about what is fair and not fair when it comes to NFL schedules.
I grew up reading King in Sports Illustrated and used to think the world of him. The last five or so years, however, he’s become a hack King and one not worthy of respect, especially when it comes to his recent Hall of Fame voting record.