(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
The NFL released the 2021 schedule last Wednesday and the Steelers for the seventh consecutive year will open the season on the road. They'll travel to Buffalo to play the Bills in Week 1.
The last time the Steelers had a home opener in Week 1 was in 2014 against the Browns. It's by far the longest streak in the league without a home opener to start the season. The Steelers are 3-2-1 in their previous six season openers.
However, longtime NFL writer Peter King doesn't see the big deal in the Steelers opening the season on the road for the seventh consecutive year and doesn't understand why Steelers fans are upset about it.
"Some attention’s been paid to the Steelers opening their season for the seventh straight year on the road; Pittsburgh at Buffalo is the highlight of the Week 1 Sunday early window games. Not sure why this is a flashpoint for Steeler fan anger," King wrote in his weekly Football Mooring In America column. "Pittsburgh’s 3-2-1 in the previous six road openers—with the two losses coming at defending Super Bowl champ New England. How I’d look at it: In those two seasons, you’ve got your toughest game of the season out of the way in Week 1. And in 2021, you’ve got nine home and seven road games after the opener. It’s just not that big a deal, where you open the season."
The Pirates host the Nationals at 1:05 p.m. on Sept. 12, so the Steelers were unable to host a day game at Heinz Field on Sunday in Week 1. The reasoning for this has a lot to do with PNC Park being in close proximity to Heinz Field, and that they share parking lots for their respective venues.
The Pirates are off on Sept. 13, so a Sunday night game or Monday night game at Heinz Field could have worked.
King also mentioned in his column that Ben Roethlisberger is going to have to be outstanding down the stretch in 2021, unlike this past year. The Steelers play four playoff teams from last year in their final four games of the season.
"Ben Roethlisberger's going to have to be great late for the Steelers to win big this year," King wrote. "Not only does Pittsburgh have a weighty nine of 17 games against teams that finished 11-5 or better last year, but four come in the final four weeks—Tennessee (11-5), at Kansas City (14-2), Cleveland (11-5), at Baltimore (11-5)."