The NFL released its 2016 schedule on Thursday night in a 3-hour show on the NFL Network. Here's your 2016 Steelers schedule:
The first thing that jumps out is the Steelers playing on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. However, the Steelers also play on other national holidays: Chocolate Milkshake Day (Sept 12), Fire Prevention Day (Oct 9), my half-birthday (Nov 13) and Bake Cookies Day (Dec 18).
September 12: I really thought the Steelers would play in Washington on the Monday night before election day like they did in 2008. Instead, the Steelers play in Maryland on the first Monday night of the season. I look forward to seeing all of the Metro outages and delays during a regular Monday evening commute, first home football game, and a 7:05 Mets-Nationals game. Might as well throw in a Presidential debate in DC that night as well as a World Bank meeting, Pope visit, or nuclear summit at that time too.
In a bit of a schedule quirk, the NFL scheduled the Steelers against all three other AFC North teams twice.
September 25: How many times do you think we'll hear the Battle of Pennsylvania the week of the Steelers-Eagles game?
October 9: Could the Steelers face the Jets the same time the Pirates play the Mets in the playoffs? (Probably not.)
October 16: Time for a repeat trip to South Florida for a Steelers game? The Dolphins group ticket guy has e-mailed and/or called me weekly over the past month. He also emailed me on Thursday to let me know the exact time the schedule would be released.
October 23: The return of Woodland Hills graduate Rob Gronkowski to Pittsburgh. Some quarterback named Brady will probably be there too.
November 13: Steelers-Cowboys. Let's go back to the days of Roger Staubach and Mean Joe Greene. Tom Laundry and Chuck Noll. Steve Pelluer and Mark Malone?
December 4: The Byron Stingily game. This will almost be as big as when Brett Favre returned to Green Bay as a member of the Vikings. Long-time Steelers offensive lineman Stingily, who we all remember for playing as many snaps for the Steelers as me, seeks revenge against his former team.
January 1: Steelers fans get to see first-hand the annual week 17 game of "Who Is The Cleveland Browns Starting QB?" RG3 has the early edge, but I think Bernie Kosar has a good chance to start.