The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL season opener is on the road, the eighth consecutive year that the team has started away from Heinz Field, and president Art Rooney II says that it’s the teams neighbors on the North Shore, the Pittsburgh Pirates, that are the primary reason.
“Well, we’ve been on the road a lot, that’s for sure, Rooney said in an interview with Missi Matthews. “I think we need to talk to Pirates about their schedule. I think that contributes to it a little bit.”
The Steelers have played on the road for their opening game the last eight seasons, making it the fifth longest streak for a team in NFL history. The conflict with the Pirates stems from the fact that the Pirates generally play at home the weekend when the Steelers opening weekend is.
Including this year, since 2015 when the streak started, the Pirates played six of eight games at home during that stretch. The only times they didn’t play at home were in 2017 and 2020, which didn’t impact fans since they couldn’t attend games because of COVID-19 protocols.
The Pirates and the Steelers can play the same day. To do this, they need to schedule the Pirates game at 12:30 p.m. and the Steelers need the Sunday Night Football slot at 8:20 p.m. Or the Pirates could play the Sunday night game and the Steelers early at 1 p.m.
Whether this happens or not is up to the TV networks who have the rights and they choose the games. The Pirates have not made the postseason since 2015, so it is unlikely to see them play a Sunday night game, so the Steelers might need a Sunday night game to combat that.