Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac, through NFL Network, a source close to the situation confirms Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will start in one of the biggest Monday Night Football games in network history.
Perhaps it's recognition of the rarity of the opponents in the game that compels Roethlisberger to play.
There have only been three other occurrences of two 10-win teams squaring off on Monday Night Football.
49ers legend and Western Pa. native Joe Montana will do the introduction of the MNF broadcast tonight, as well. Many people have cited Denver's John Elway as Roethlisberger's childhood hero, whereas, Jim Wexell's book, Steeler Nation, says it's Montana.
This would be Roethlisberger's first game at Candlestick Park, and it will definitely be played between two better teams than the last time these franchises met. In 2003, San Francisco's Tim Rattay carved up the Steelers porous secondary for 254 yards on 21-for-27 passing in the 49ers (5-5) crushed Pittsburgh (3-7) 30-14.
49ers LT Joe Staley was cleared to play as well after suffering concussion-like symptoms in San Francisco's 21-19 loss to Arizona last week. LB Patrick Willis (hamstring) is listed as questionable, and sources from ESPN are saying it doesn't appear he will play. He's likely a game-time decision.