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NFL Makes Definitive Call on Steelers-Patriots Matchup



Steelers Playoff Mac Jones New England Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones winds up to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The NFL has made the call on the Steelers vs. Patriots Thursday Night Football game. Both sides will play one another on December 7th. There was plenty of speculation on if that would be flexed, but it will not. The reason? The deadline to flex the game out of the Thursday night slot has already passed, and the NFL has yet to flex a game out of the Thursday night slot.

The change to flex those games occurred this offseason, which came in response to a lack of quality broadcasts for the league’s new Thursday night partner, Amazon Prime. The bad football played on Thursday nights became such a talking point that host Al Michaels was making fun of the product on the broadcast.

Flexible scheduling for Thursday Night Football will only take place in Weeks 13-17, with each team able to be flexed just twice per season, and the league being required to give 28 days’ notice before moving a game. While that game will take place in Week 14, the game will occur in 25 days. That means this game will not be flexed, and it will occur as one of the uglier Thursday Night Football matchups in recent memory.

Steelers team president Art Rooney II was largely against the flex scheduling. He was insistent on a longer timeframe of notice being part of the proceedings in order for it to pass.

“The biggest problem I had with the flex was that the proposal was that you only had 15 days’ notice,” Rooney said in May. “That’s just too short of a turnaround time for a flex from a Sunday to Thursday, as far as I’m concerned.”

The Steelers own a record of 12-13 while playing in prime time on Thursday nights. Since the rearrangement put Thursday Night Football on the schedule regularly in 2006, the Steelers are 11-9 on Thursday nights. New England is sputtering after another loss on Sunday to the Colts in Germany, while Pittsburgh improved to 6-3 with a win over the Packers.