The Steelers 2022 regular-season schedule was released for public consumption on Thursday.
Some intriguing things came out of the reveal.
Pittsburgh will have the least amount of travel time of any team in the NFL next year—6,442 miles, to be exact. Also, the Steelers will not leave the eastern time zone, which is kind of amazing.
Pittsburgh will have eleven 1 p.m. kickoffs, which is a pleasant surprise for yours truly. Of course, the Steelers will also have the maximum number of primetime games which should be a surprise to no one who knows about NFL television ratings.
The Steelers and Raiders are scheduled to face off at Heinz Field on Christmas Eve—or 50 years plus one day after the greatest play in NFL history—the Immaculate Reception—took place at the end of a divisional-round playoff game between the two squads at old Three Rivers Stadium.
But while the Steelers' regular-season slate of games offers a lot to chew on and look forward to, I’m a little disappointed in one part of it, and that has to do with their preseason calendar, which was also released on Thursday.
Who cares about the preseason, right? I hear ya, there, but I’m a bit of a traditionalist in certain aspects of my life—it comes with the territory for most people born under the Taurus sign—and this is why I was saddened to learn that Pittsburgh won’t be playing the Carolina Panthers in the final exhibition game for the first time since 2003.
Let’s face it, the last preseason affair is always a snoozefest, but there is just something about that game taking place between the Steelers and Panthers, whether it be at Heinz Field or Bank of America Stadium, with the two teams alternating home venues every year.
That’s all past tense now.
Even with David Tepper, a Pittsburgh native and former minority owner of the Steelers, the majority owner in Carolina since 2018, the relationship has come to a halt, at least for now, anyway.
The preseason relationship between the Steelers and Panthers has lasted so long, that it helped me to foster a bit of a cheering interest in the latter.
It’s nothing major. It’s nothing that would force me to turn in my Steelers Fan card, but I kind of like to see the Panthers do well in the NFC every season, and I attribute that to their long-time late-August kinship with Pittsburgh.
Oh well, all things must come to an end. The Steelers used to play the Cowboys in the preseason just about every year when I was a kid, same with the Giants, Eagles and Washington.
Did anyone even notice when those preseason matchups stopped taking place every summer? Probably not.
Yes, Bob Pompeani and Charlie Batch will still spend the entire preseason finale talking about the annual Heinz Field Kickoff and Rib Festival. Yes, they’ll still promote CW shows like The Flash and Walker all throughout the broadcast, but it just won’t be the same without the Panthers, and their future podcasters, web influencers and college football analysts, acting as a backdrop.