Heyward Tries To Find Silver Lining In Steelers’ Double Thursday Night Schedule

A decade ago, Cam Heyward wouldn’t have minded Thursday night games so much. Today? It’s a borderline criminal offense committed by the NFL. Ready or not, Heyward will be preparing for two Thursday night games this season when the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Tennessee Titans in Week 9 and again in Week 14 against the New England Patriots.

Though far from Heyward’s idea of a good time – or even good NFL scheduling – there’s a couple positives he’ll cling to.

“The thing we have going for us is they’re all at home and we have a home game before,” Heyward told co-host Hayden Walsh on the latest episode of their Not Just Football podcast. “If you can find little silver linings that works in your favor, you play at home and you don’t have to travel the next week for a Thursday night game, I think that can play a factor in the trying to get your body right.”

As part of their mission to get as many eyeballs on TV as possible, and potentially to reduce the odds of getting Thursday night snoozefests like last season, the league permitted teams to play up to two TNF games this year. Pittsburgh is part of that group without much separation between. They’ll host the Titans in early November and then see the Patriots come to town barely more than a month later.

But as Heyward pointed out, the good news is the Steelers won’t be doing any travelling for or around those games. The Titans and Patriots contests will be held at Acrisure Stadium and crucially, Pittsburgh is also the home team the game before those Thursday night matchups. In Week 8, the Steelers play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars while in Week 13, it’ll be the Arizona Cardinals coming to town.

It isn’t exactly going to make Heyward’s body feel any less bruised or battered to play four days after a game but avoiding getting on a plane and flying somewhere Wednesday is one small benefit. Heyward admitted that at this point in his career, his body typically doesn’t even feel semi-ready until Thursday.

“I’m usually not feeling good till about Thursday,” he said. “And that’s being nice. Monday and Tuesday feels like I can’t walk, I can’t do anything right. And if we’ve lost that game, I’m even worse than that.”

Perhaps the toughest logistical part of the Steelers’ schedule is the end of the year. Three of their final four games are on the road, including their final two. In Week 17, they’ll fly to the other corner of the country to take on the Seattle Seahawks before heading to Baltimore in Week 18 in what could obviously be a critical matchup for both sides. It’s not perfect but it’s the hand the Steelers were dealt. Now they have to play it. Literally.

Catch the whole episode of Heyward’s most recent show breaking down the Steelers’ schedule below.


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