It’s never an easy question. Traveling 2,600 miles and crossing over to other time zones is no small matter. With such a long trip, should the Steelers adjust their schedule in order to have more time to adapt to the West Coast, or should they keep it business as usual?
This was the question asked of Mike Tomlin in his press conference on Tuesday. Specifically, Tomlin was asked about the challenges going to the West Coast and if he will make any alterations in travel for the Steelers .
“We’ve made some alterations, but nothing significant,” Tomlin answered. “We’re going to get up and go on Saturday morning and kind of operate on an East Coast time, if you will, in an effort to get a fluid night’s rest and be ready to play on what will be a 4:25 East Coast time kickoff on Sunday.”
Playing a 4:25 PM game on a Sunday is not a situation the Steelers are unfamiliar with. In 2018, five of the Steelers final six games were played in the 4:25 PM time slot with three of them being on the road.
While the Steelers are familiar with the 4:25 PM time slot, their success on the road is a different story. In 2018, the Steelers were 0-3 on the road in the afternoon time slot coming up short in Denver, Oakland and New Orleans. The Steelers were 2-0 at home at 4:25 PM games with wins against New England and Cincinnati.
After their game in San Francisco, the Steelers are scheduled for three more 4:25 PM kickoff‘s in 2019. After Week 3, there will be some time until the Steelers are scheduled play in this time slot again as the next game will be at Heinz Field against the St. Louis Rams in Week 10. The Steelers also have the Cleveland Browns at home and the Arizona Cardinals on the road in afternoon games during the month of December.
Hopefully the Steelers can use this method of staying on East Coast time and translate it into a victory. In the Steelers trips to the West Coast under Mike Tomlin, they have a record of 1-5 with their only win in a 24–20 victory over the San Diego Chargers in 2015. Interesting enough, the lone victory the Steelers have on the West Coast under Mike Tomlin is the only game in which Ben Roethlisberger did not start. With Mason Rudolph taking over the signal calling for the Steelers, perhaps they can follow in the same footsteps.
Regardless of the time on the Steelers watch when they take the field on Sunday, they need to be a lot more concerned with their opponent than which time zone they are playing. The San Francisco 49ers are off to a 2-0 start and are looking to make a splash this year in the NFC West. As for the Steelers, they are excited to see what their new pieces can do as they desperately seek their first win of the season.