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2023 showed us that the Steelers opening at home isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be

After the Steelers 2024 regular-season schedule officially became official on Wednesday, the cries of injustice could be heard from Nate in Natrona Heights over to Stamford, Connecticut, where former Super Bowl hero Ryan Clark even weighed in on the degree of difficulty.

The complaints have been ongoing and mostly to do with the back half of Pittsburgh’s schedule, where all six divisional contests await, as well as a Thursday night game on November 21, followed by a Wednesday afternoon affair on Christmas about one month later.

For all of the gnashing of teeth over the schedule, you don’t hear too many people kicking and screaming about the Steelers having to kick off their 2024 campaign on the road, do you? Not only does Pittsburgh have to open up in Atlanta vs. the Falcons on September 8, but the organization has to travel a mile high to play the Broncos one week later.

It will be the ninth time the Steelers open a season away from Heinz Field/Acrisure Stadium since 2015.

The road-opener streak had actually reached eight straight years before the 2023 campaign when Pittsburgh finally got to host a team in Week 1.

That team was the 49ers, and they came to town and beat the living heck out of Pittsburgh by a score of 30-7.

And the game wasn’t even that close.

Not only did Pittsburgh get shellacked at home, but Acrisure Stadium got overtaken by red-gold-and-white-clad football fanatics from Northern California (and, I assume, all over the country–the 49ers are America’s Team, too).

It was just a horrible day all the way around, and I began yearning for that traditional Steelers road opener about midway through the first quarter.

For all the crying over the years about the Steelers opening up away from Heinz Field/Acrisure Stadium, they actually did quite well during their eight-season run of playing Week 1 on the road.

Pittsburgh was 5-2-1 during that stretch, with the only two losses coming at Gillette Stadium, the Steelers’ hell away from home.

I don’t know what the big deal is about a football team opening up at home, anyway. I get it if it’s a college program. The pomp. The circumstance. The pageantry. The marching bands.

Other than college football, the only other home opener that’s worth anything occurs in baseball. They make a day out of it. They bring back old managers to throw out the first pitch. They honor former MVPs and current Hall of Famers.

Don’t get me wrong, franchises may do all of those things during NFL home openers, but nobody ever knows about it.

Back to the Steelers 2024 regular-season schedule.

Sure, they open up on the road the first two weeks, but they played at home the first two weeks last season, and by rights, they should have been 0-2 (they sure played bad enough on offense to be). Also, Pittsburgh had to play its last two games away from home to close out the schedule.

The upside for the Steelers is that they get to play eight of their final 15 games at home in 2024–including the last two.

Still need a bit more convincing?

Remember 2013 when the Steelers were outplayed by the Titans at home in Week 1 and also lost half of their roster due to injuries? Remember one year later when Cleveland overcame a 24-point deficit in the fourth quarter and damn near won the game?

Remember last September when Steelers fans–without even a hint of self-awareness–spent days complaining about the 49ers taking over another team’s stadium?

Opening up at home isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.


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