The Raiders are leaving Oakland, and are headed to Las Vegas in the very near future, and there likely isn’t an NFL team more excited for this change of venue than the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The last time the Steelers went to Oakland and won? Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was just 13 years old.
You can talk about the ‘Black Hole’ and the rabid Raiders fan base all you want, but one aspect of playing in Oakland is the trip to the west coast. This practice is common place, yet every team handles it differently.
For the Steelers, especially under Mike Tomlin, the team has kept things status quo. Leaving at the normal time for a road trip and preparing the same. However, this year the team is leaving earlier than usual, something noticably different for the veteran quarterback.
During his weekly Wednesday media session, Roethlisberger spoke about the challenge, and what it means to the team making the cross country flight.
“I’ve been doing it for a while, and I hear people talking about it [traveling west]. Whether you are going to elevation in Denver, or going to the west coast. West-East, however you want to say it, but I’ve heard people say it’s under 24 hours it doesn’t affect your body. We’ve always gone at the same time, as long as I’ve been here. This year we are going earlier in the day, so I guess we are trying something different.”
This prompted questions regarding the team’s travels to London to play the Minnesota Vikings during the 2013 season.
“That one I think we went on like a Thrusday, we went very late. You felt it. The other team, I think Minnesota went earlier, and I think whe you are going that far and going through time zones and different days that’s smarter to have more time, but we definitely felt that one. I did.”
Some teams handle the west coast swing differently. Some have left a full day earlier than usual, set up shop on the west coast for the final walk through and allowed the players to get more acclimated to the time change. Others haven’t changed a thing and some have even stayed on the west coast if they have back-to-back week in the western time zone.
Either way, it seems the Steelers are trying something different this year, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, it isn’t as if what they typically do has been working when going to Oakland.
Take a look at the full interview with Roethlisberger below:
Ben Roethlisberger talks about the tough Oakland environment, the running game without James Conner and the final games of the regular season. pic.twitter.com/ZSawHfS2PR— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 5, 2018