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Art Rooney II on the Steelers schedule: “You have to be ready to adjust”

When it comes to the NFL’s 2024 regular season schedule release, fans of all 32 teams focus on the upcoming slate of games, but there weren’t many teams who garnered more attention than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only do the Steelers have one of the more difficult schedules based on Strength of Schedule (SOS), but their post Week 9 bye slate of games is a difficult challenge with six of nine games against AFC North opponents, and the other three games being against the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, and Kansas City Chiefs.

Regardless of how the schedule shook out, Steelers team president Art Rooney II isn’t about to seek comfort, as Mike Tomlin would say, and he fully believes the team will be ready to play when the games start to really count.

“Mike does a good job of getting guys ready.” Rooney said to Dale Lolley of “There are no excuses in terms of what day of the week you’re playing. He doesn’t allow for that, or the time of the day. You just have to be ready to go when the time comes.”

Speaking specifically of that post-bye stretch of games, the biggest gripe of the Steelers fan base has been the back log of divisional games. The team doesn’t play any division games until after their bye week, and doing that against the AFC North is no easy task.

“You never take anything for granted. The teams in our division are all tough,” Rooney said. “Some people would say we have the toughest division in football, and I probably would agree with that. They’ll all be tough games. It will be a challenge.”

For all the negativity which has come with the Steelers schedule release last week, there was at least one positive in Rooney’s eyes. That would be when the bye week fell on the schedule. The past few seasons have seen the Steelers have an early bye week, but the Week 9 bye in 2024 is about as middle-of-the-road as you can get.

“I like where the bye came. It’s always good to have it more in the middle of the season,” Rooney said. “That will be good. You have mini-byes in there with a Thursday game and a Wednesday game. It will be a challenge to deal with all the different days of the week we’re playing. You have to be ready to adjust to anything with the NFL schedule these days.”

Ultimately, Rooney realizes there isn’t much they can do about the schedule. They’ve known their opponents since the end of last season, and where they would play, and while the schedule certainly shook out differently than many hoped, they’ll have to do the best they can to make the most out of the 2024 season.

“It’s probably not exactly how I would have drawn it up, but we’ve got to do the best we can,” said Rooney. “On the positive side, we’ve got some high-profile, marquee games with the Cowboys and the Chiefs on Christmas Day, a couple of other prime time games. We’ll be playing in front of a big audience most of the time, which is a good thing. A lot of the division games are at the end of the schedule, so it will be an interesting stretch there toward the end.”

Interesting is a good way of putting it, but Rooney has been doing this long enough to realize complaining won’t do anyone any good when it comes to the schedule. It’s out of their control, and now it comes down to the coaches and players getting the job done when it matters most.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2024 offseason.


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