The Pittsburgh Steelers have now won five straight games and continue to “stack wins.” After their 52-21 thrashing of the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, the team now has a chance to rest and relax and prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11.
Today in the black-and-gold links article, we talk about how the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers going head-to-head in Week 10 equated to big ratings for the NFL. While most players, and even many fans, can’t stand Thursday Night Football, as long as the NFL, and by proxy FOX, see more money coming it, it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Let’s get to the news:
Steelers-Panthers game Thursday sees ratings spike on Fox, digital platforms
By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Thursday nights continue to be a hit for the Steelers.
Not only did the Steelers improve to 8-1 on Thursday night games at Heinz Field with a 52-21 victory against the Carolina Panthers, the game was watched by 15.4 million viewers across all media platforms.
That is a 15 percent increase over the Week 10 Thursday night matchup in 2017 between Seattle and Arizona and represented a 10 percent increase above the combined ratings for the 10-game Fox Thursday night package in 2017.
In addition to rightsholder Fox, the media platforms included NFL Network, FoxDeportes, NFL digital, Fox Sports digital, Amazon and Yahoo Sports.
The Nielsen audience for the Steelers-Panthers game was 14.8 million viewers, a 13 percent increase over the 2017 Week 10 matcup.
The game also featured a substantial uptick in digital streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, NFL digital platforms, Fox Sports digital platforms and Yahoo Sports. The average minute audience of 782,000 viewers represented a 105 percent increase over the 2017 Week 10 time slot.
The Steelers, ‘instrumental’ in city’s recovery, are back home
By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
DRESSED IN A BLACK Pittsburgh Steelers shirt, the woman sniffed back tears as she made her way through the still-crowded memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, gently, unconsciously rolling a small stone in her right palm. I never intended to start this “week with the Steelers” diary with a visit to Squirrel Hill, but you realize quickly that, in this town, there’s no way to separate the two: On this Monday morning, the two items above the fold in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are James Conner and the Squirrel Hill Massacre. There are more parallels: David and Cecil Rosenthal, two of the 11 victims in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in United States history, were brothers of Michele Rosenthal, the team’s former community relations manager; head coach Mike Tomlin lives a block from the synagogue, near Art Rooney II, as well; two buses of Steelers players, along with Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris, attended the victims’ funerals last week. In Baltimore, eight days after the attack, Ben Roethlisberger sported cleats with the now ubiquitous “Stronger Than Hate” logo featuring the star of David as part of the Steelers logo.
That logo is everywhere at this memorial, held this week at Tree of Life -- still framed by yellow police tape and bursting with flowers, candles, rain-soaked signs and heart-breaking personal notes. It’s painted onto the stones that mourners have left behind for the dead, following Jewish custom. There are thousands of stones here now, some precariously stacked four, five high, on top of the nameplates, and when you begin to contemplate the massive, collective tapestry of grief they form, it’s instantly overwhelming. The rest of the world may have moved on already to the next mass shooting -- another 13 dead just 12 days later, in Thousand Oaks, California -- but the sorrow in Squirrel Hill lingers.
Even here, the Steelers mean something. Along with the stones, which feature the team logo, there is a man in a wheelchair paying his respects while wearing a throwback Troy Polamalu jersey. A woman stands at a steel barricade, bowed in prayer, holding up a giant poster asking people to put a Steel Curtain of love around the Tree of Life. “Obviously, everyone is still really feeling the pain, but the Steelers have been instrumental in uniting this community and supporting these poor families,” says Dr. Stanley Marks, a lifelong Pittsburgh resident, Pitt grad and the chairman of the nearby UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Forget sports -- this team is an important fabric of the community.”
After leaving Tree of Life, I walked up a small hill to the Commonplace Coffeehouse on Forbes Avenue, which had recently received a $650 donation -- free coffee for all on Saturday, Nov. 3 -- from citizens in Newtown, Connecticut, who experienced the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Just a few months ago, I was in Jacksonville, working on a story about a shooting at a Madden tournament. The killer walked right by a giant poster of the latest Madden NFL cover, featuring Steelers wideout Antonio Brown. Sports used to be our escape, but the Steelers represent the new normal now: Each of us connected, sometimes in multiple ways, to a mass shooting.
As I walked back to my car, a strange thumping noise stopped me in my tracks at the foot of the Jewish Community Center on the west side of Squirrel Hill, where the clock tower is in Hebrew, the flag is at half-mast and the steps remain covered in flowers. Eventually I traced the sound to a large bay window at the front of the building where toddlers in the center’s day care had crowded onto the windowsill and were pounding on the glass until each passerby stopped what they were doing to smile and wave back at them.
Even the bus drivers were pulling up short of their stop to open their doors to wave to the kids. As they did, the info screens on the sides of the buses flashed the words: Pittsburgh Strong.
Don’t expect to hear much about James Conner before Wednesday
By: Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
Steelers running back James Conner exited Thursday night’s game and entered the concussion protocol. Don’t expect to hear anything more about him until Wednesday.
The Steelers have no obligation to comment any player’s health until next Wednesday, when the first injury report is due in advance of a Week 11 game against the Jaguars. With running back Le’Veon Bell facing a Tuesday deadline to report or sit out the rest of the season, the Steelers have no reason to say anything about Conner’s availability, or lack thereof, before Bell shows up, or doesn’t.
If Conner is expected to miss time (and with a concussion who knows?), Bell would have a burst of leverage as the door closes on his ability to play. If the Steelers need Bell, maybe they’d pay him more than $855,000 per week, or maybe they’d include an incentive package or something else like that in order to get him to show up.
Chances are the Steelers would simply hold firm on Bell’s franchise tender and assume Conner won’t miss much if any time. The team has shown no inclination to bend on Bell, and it’s unlikely that they’ll start doing it now.