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The Steelers 2024 schedule is an example of how much the NFL loves them

The Steelers 2024 regular-season schedule was officially released on Wednesday afternoon (after it was unofficially released earlier that day in much the same manner a kidnapper cuts words out of a magazine to make a ransom note), and I wasn’t surprised one bit.

What wasn’t I surprised about?

The outrage by Steelers fans. Their persecuted nature. Their conspiracy theories. Their accusations that the NFL really hates their favorite football team.

Don’t get me wrong, Pittsburgh’s schedule is BRUTAL…I guess. But we already knew the Steelers would have one of the toughest schedules in 2024 even before it was revealed.

The Steelers have to face five playoff teams from a year ago and play two of those squads–the Ravens and Browns–twice each. Not to mention, the Bengals will have a healthy Joe Burrow in 2024, so even though they didn’t make the postseason in 2023, they might be the AFC North’s best team when they have the kid who looks like the kid from Home Alone leading the way.

Then again, maybe Burrow won’t be healthy by the time Cincinnati shows up on the Steelers’ schedule. I say that because Pittsburgh won’t face any of its AFC North opponents until November 17, a date that will begin a four-game stretch against divisional foes–including two vs. the Browns.

Pittsburgh will have a rough patch after the bye. Not only will it have to play all six of its divisional opponents over the final nine games, but it will have to travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles on December 15. A week and a half later, the Steelers will come back home to find Taylor Swift and the Chiefs sitting under the tree on Christmas Day. In between, will be a road date with the Ravens on Saturday, December 21.

That’s three games in 11 days. Yikes. Seems unusually brutal, doesn’t it? Not when you step back and realize it isn’t much different than a three-game stretch that has a team playing back-to-back Sundays and then on Thursday Night Football.

That occurs all the time. In fact, it happens to just about every team at some point, every year. The Steelers were on TNF twice last season, which meant they played three games in 12 days on two separate occasions. They’ll do pretty much the same thing again this year, only two TNF dates will be replaced by one TNF matchup–November 21 at Cleveland–followed by the contest vs. Kansas City at Acrisure Stadium on Wednesday, December 25, 2024.

Yes, both stretches will happen after the bye, but each will be followed by a mini-bye.

That’s a nice trade-off, no?

And what about the first nine opponents on Pittsburgh’s 2024 regular-season schedule? Eight of those squads didn’t make the playoffs a year ago.

This is what BIG WHINER doesn’t want you to know!

I’m not saying the Steelers are good and will have their way with most of their opponents through the Commanders game on November 10. After all, it’s impossible to predict which teams will be doing what four months before the 2024 campaign even kicks off, let alone two months into it (even though a lot of folks are predicting that even as I write this article). But if Pittsburgh stays healthy on defense and has an improved offense with Arthur Smith designing the plays and Russell Wilson barking them out, I can envision a 6-3 start.

Yes, four of the first six games will be on the road, but Atlanta in Week 1 figures to be a defacto home game. Also, you remember how thoroughly black-and-gold-clad fans took over Allegiant Stadium when the Steelers traveled to Vegas early last season.

I get it, you’re stuck on those last eight games–including that stretch of three starting on December 15 and ending on December 25.

You think the NFL hates the Steelers. Why else would the league make them play on Christmas Day? Why do they have to face three tough teams in 11 days?

Because of ratings, duh!

Pittsburgh is one of the NFL’s marquee franchises. That’s why it almost always gets five primetime matchups, even when it maybe doesn’t deserve that many. True, the Steelers will only get four nighttime affairs in 2024–including one against the Cowboys on October 6 and back-to-back matchups vs. the gangs of New York right before the bye–but the game vs. the Chiefs on Christmas afternoon couldn’t be more of a primetime affair. Also, the Saturday afternoon contest at Baltimore on December 21 at 4:30 p.m. will be the only football being played during that three-hour window.

Face it, the NFL loves the Steelers. I mean, Pittsburgh vs. Dallas on Sunday Night Football? Forget about the Christmas matchup, much like Clark Griswold, executives at NBC are currently designing new pools for their families based on that game, alone. 

If the NFL truly hated the Steelers, there would be nothing but 1 p.m. kickoffs and one mandatory TNF matchup every year. Think about, other than T.J. Watt and Mike Tomlin, where is the star power for this franchise in 2024?

The Steelers have been a boring and almost unwatchable team over the past half-decade, yet, the NFL continues to feature them in premium time slots multiple times a year.

That’s because they’re still a ratings winner.

Fans love to brag about the Steelers being so popular worldwide. They talk about how you can walk into just about any city in the free world and find a Steelers bar.

That level of popularity comes with a price.

Much like the girlfriend of the star tight end of the team Pittsburgh will be facing on December 25, it often means putting up with an inconvenient schedule and a challenging travel itinerary.

Finally, you might think there is Bad Blood between the NFL and the Steelers, but if the league had to pick a Taylor Swift song to best sum up why Pittsburgh’s 2024 schedule is so challenging, it would probably request Look What You Made Me Do.


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