UNITY TWP., Pa. — What does it take to get two veteran players, that have camped with each other and battled against each other on the practice fields for five years to come to blows during a practice session?
That’s what happened on Wednesday between fifth-year offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva and ninth-year defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, with Villanueva, a former U.S. Army Ranger, landing a big swing on a still-helmeted Heyward.
The cause? Villanueva swears it was all about the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones.
“I thought the ending could have been better,” Villanueva said before practice on Thursday. “Cam thinks it was the greatest show of all time. … John Snow should not have been sent north of the wall after everything that he did for the Seven Kingdoms. To get that treatment, I thought it wasn’t fair.”
Villanueva did show remorse for his actions, though he remains insistent that his opinion of the show’s controversial ending is the correct one.
“There’s no place for fighting in training camp,” he said. “It’s childish. It’s unprofessional for both us. Again, it’s just a very different opinion that he has of the show.”
Heyward had a slightly different take on the cause of the conflict.
“Football,” he admitted. “I was just playing football.”
The cagey veteran gave a “no comment” when asked about his views about Game of Thrones. He seemed to suggest that — deep-seated television preferences aside — the players have been able to put things behind them.
“It’s water off our back,” Heyward said. “It’s just another day at the office. I don’t worry about it. If there’s a fight, there’s a fight. … Coach [Tomlin] always tells us we’re not trying to raise a UFC team.”
Perhaps most importantly, Heyward thought that Wednesday’s fight came within a practice session full of game-level intensity, and that’s what the team is looking for as they move forward through the rigors of training camp.
“We’ve got to continue setting that and keep it going,” he said.
Terrell Edmunds Explains New Nickname
Terrell Edmunds informs the media, including Mike Asti and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about his new nickname. Call him “Old Fashioned” from now on. He also expresses how feels about the current state of the Steelers, and that’s obviously includes being happy about the team’s record but also understanding the need to improve.
Steelers Week 10 Game vs. Bengals Flexed to 4:25 p.m. National Broadcast
The Steelers game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 has been flexed into a national television broadcast slot.
The Steelers and Bengals will now kick off at Heinz Field on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4:25 p.m. The game had originally been scheduled to kick at 1 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on FOX. All of that weekend’s early games will be broadcast on FOX, as CBS has coverage of The Masters, which was rescheduled from this summer.
The game will be Pittsburgh’s first matchup against 2020 NFL Draft No. 1 pick, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Steelers are also playing a 4:25 p.m., nationally broadcast game in Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. That game will be televised by CBS.
That will be the second time this season the Steelers will be placed in a nation-wide television slot. The team opened the season playing on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the New York Giants.
The Steelers’ Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans was protected by CBS in a 1 p.m. time slot, but was broadcast nearly nationwide, with CBS only showing two other 1 p.m. games.
The Steelers will play on national television at least three more times this season: against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Nov. 26, on Sunday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 13 and at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 21.
What Does Being NFL’s Last Unbeaten Team Portend for Steelers?
The Steelers are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL after beating the formerly unbeaten Tennessee Titans on Sunday while the Seattle Seahawks lost on Sunday night, leaving the Steelers as the only 6-0 team in the nation.
What does that mean for them in the long term? Not as much as you might think.
In the last 20 years, one of the last undefeated teams didn’t even make the playoffs three times: 2002 4-0 San Diego Chargers, 2014 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2016 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Ten other times, one of the last undefeated teams (some years, there are more than one), lost in the first or second round of the NFL playoffs.
Just once since 2000 has the last undefeated team won the Super Bowl, in 2006 when the Indianapolis Colts started 9-0 on the way to winning Super Bowl XLI.
In the first three decades of the league’s modern era, that was significantly different. The last undefeated team won six Super Bowls in the 1990s, two in the 1980s and three in the 1970s, including the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who finished a perfect 17-0, the only team in NFL history to do so.
More recently, being the last undefeated team has resulted in a bunch of Super Bowl losses, including the last time the Steelers were the league’s last unbeaten team.
The 2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Eagles, 2007 New England Patriots, 2009 Colts, 2010 Steelers, 2015 Carolina Panthers, 2018 Los Angeles Rams and the 2019 San Francisco 49ers all made it to the championship game after being the last undefeated team before losing in the end.