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Art Rooney II: ‘Can’t Complain Too Much’ About ‘Balanced’ Schedule

Ultimately, knowing when and at what time the games are played doesn’t change much when you’ve known for quite a long time which teams you would be playing—which is substantially, substantially more important. But still, there are nuances in a schedule that can make it more or less favorable.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers this year, they actually got a Goldilocks schedule of sorts; that is to say, there’s nothing too little in it. They even have their bye week pretty much smack in the middle of the year. Steelers president Art Rooney II came away with the same impression of the schedule, in speaking to Missi Matthews for the team’s website.

I would say, in general, the schedule’s fairly balanced”, he told Matthews. “Other than that little section where you have two primetime games in a row, I can’t complain too much about the way that it lays out. We don’t have any real long trips, so that helps. All in all, just travel-wise, it worked out pretty well”.

He is referring to the pair of games in Weeks 11 and 12, during which they are set to host the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 PM, and then will have to play another primetime game the following week on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. In this case, at least, the second game is on Monday Night Football (their following game is a standard 1 PM kickoff, also on the road, against the Atlanta Falcons).

While the way the Steelers’ 17-game schedule breaks this year means that they play more on the road than at home, there is no point at which they have to play more than two games away from the comforts of Pittsburgh. They do open the season, yet again, on the road, but they also close at home—indeed, two of their final three, and three of their final five, are at Heinz Field.

There really isn’t anything crazily out of whack. They do open with five away games to three home games in the first eight weeks leading into their bye, but they have the least travel miles of all teams this year, playing the AFC East, NFC South, and the Philadelphia Eagles (one of their road games, with a very short commute).

All in all, it’s certainly hard to complain about the overall structure of the schedule. Maybe something won’t work out for one individual’s personal plans for the fall, but the NFL’s schedule-makers already have enough factors to take into consideration without weighing millions of fans’ travel expectations.

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