The Steelers game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night will be the ninth edition of the Steelers playing on Thanksgiving in franchise history.
The Steelers are 2-6 on Turkey Day. Under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are 1-1 on Thanksgiving; losing to the Ravens, 22-20, in Baltimore in 2013 and defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 28-7, in Indianapolis in 2016. Thursday night will be the first time the Steelers have hosted a game on Thanksgiving.
Mike Tomlin looks forward to entertaining Steelers fans and all fans across the league on the special holiday.
"It is an honor for us to entertain our fans and fans in general on Thursday Night Football and on Thanksgiving," Tomlin said at his press conference on Monday. "That's not something that we take for granted. As a young guy who loved football, man I grew up watching football on the holidays, and it's an honor and it's humbling to provide that for others and to be associated with that and the memories it creates.
"There's scarcity in these opportunities. When the schedule comes out, I view it as such and treat it as such. When you get an opportunity to play on primetime, that means something in our league. When you get an opportunity to be featured on a holiday game, that's special."
It has been a tough year for everyone with the COVID-19 pandemic and Tomlin hopes that the game on Thursday night can get people's minds away from everything for just a few hours with some entertainment.
"It is an honor and a privilege to be able to entertain our fans in that way. It has been a challenging year," Tomlin said about playing on Thanksgiving. "I hope in some small way for a few hours that we can provide the type of entertainment that allows them to forget about it to a degree and do so with loved ones and in a festive atmosphere. I think that's something we all can agree to and appreciate."
Under Bill Cowher, the Steelers played just once on Thanksgiving and that was against the Detriot Lions in 1998, which was the infamous coin toss game with Jerome Betties. The game went to overtime and Bettis called tails but referee Phil Luckett thought he called heads. The coins toss resulted in being tails and the Lions got the ball first and drove down the field and kicked a field goal to win the game, 19-16.
Under Chuck Noll, the Steelers were 0-2 on Thanksgiving; losing to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-10, in 1991 and getting blown out by the Lions, 45-3, in 1983.
Before the game in 1983, you have to go all the way back to 1950 to the last time the Steelers played on Thanksgiving, which was a 28-17 win over the Chicago Cardinals. Ten years earlier in 1940, the Steelers lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, 7-0, on Thanksgiving. The year prior, the Steelers, who were known as the Pirates then, lost to the Eagles, 17-14, on Thanksgiving.