The Pittsburgh Steelers are a hot commodity. To be honest, when it comes to the NFL hierarchy of team brands, the Steelers would be at the top, or near it.
There is no better way to gauge this other than the NFL’s consistent scheduling of the black-and-gold on their prime time slots. The NFL allows a maximum of 5 prime time games per year, this before the potential of flex scheduling moving games to prime time, and the Steelers are almost always at the maximum of this limit.
This year is no exception, with two of the five prime time games coming at Heinz Field.
@ Tampa Bay on Monday Sept. 24
vs. Baltimore on Sunday Sept. 30
vs. Carolina Thursday Nov. 8 followed by one
@ Jacksonville on Sunday Nov. 18
@ Oakland on Sunday night Dec. 9
Most fans love to see the Steelers on national television; after all, not everyone lives in the viewing area and/or purchases the DirecTV Sunday Ticket.
However, team President Art Rooney II has his own thoughts on prime time games, how it might be impacting the team’s decrease in attendance and putting a voice the fan base.
“The thing that concerns me about our attendance is more related to our schedule — I would rather not have as many night games,” Rooney said during an interview with Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette. “Last year we had three home night games almost in a row. I just don’t think our fans want to do that anymore.”
“Our demand is still strong, but night games, if you have too many of them, it does get to be a problem,” Rooney said.
“Obviously we want to be in prime time, we want to be the kind of team they put in prime time. I just think it’s a question of them spreading them out, which this year is a little better from that standpoint. When you have those sort of bunched at the end of the season when it gets cold, I think that can be a problem.”
“I think from a league standpoint, I know it’s hard, but it needs to look at those kinds of situations,” Rooney said of bunching home night games together. “That’s probably the best thing we can address in terms of our attendance.”
With the Steelers’ vast fan base, Rooney knows they have people coming from all areas of the world coming in to watch their favorite football team play.
“No question we have people coming from all over,” Rooney said. “Night games makes the travel more difficult.”
Don’t get Rooney’s words twisted. He isn’t suggesting he doesn’t want the Steelers to be in prime time. He likely realizes this is the only way some fans get to even watch the team, let alone travel to see them live. But what he doesn’t want are the four straight prime time games like they had in 2017.
What are your thoughts on prime time games? Do you love them, or hate them? Would that impact whether you attend a game at Heinz Field? Let us know in the comment section below!