When the NFL and the Steelers announced their full slate of regular-season games last Thursday, I wasn’t expecting to be surprised or happy.
Why would I be? I often write articles that mock the annual schedule reveal and how it takes away from so many other things that, in my opinion, are far more noteworthy.
Like blinking, for example.
Yet, I was very pleasantly surprised, to the point that I’ve now written my third article on the subject.
Why? The Steelers will play 11 games that kick off at 1 p.m. EST, which, as the title suggests, is the time of day God originally envisioned football to be played when He created the NFL in a showroom in Canton, Ohio, way back in 1920.
Call me a sap, but there’s just something about watching a football game at 1 ‘o clock on a Sunday afternoon. This is especially the case early in the season when fall is on the doorstep, the leaves are turning brown, the smell of freshly-cut grass is hanging in the air, and there’s a cool, crisp breeze coming through your open living room window.
These games often include broadcast crews that aren’t the network’s A units, but when I was a kid, those crews included talented folks like NBC’s Don Crique as the play-by-play man and Bob Trumpy as the color analyst. Just listen to this opening of a game between the Browns and Bengals back in 1986 and tell me that doesn’t scream 1 p.m. EST. Can you just picture it? You’re sitting in your recliner, you’re drinking a beer (or Capri Sun in those days), the sun is shining through your window, and you’re as content as can be.
I think I’m even happier about the fact that Pittsburgh will not have any 4:15 or 4:25 p.m. games this year (as of this writing, anyway). That’s the most annoying time to start a game, other than Thursday night, of course. Why? It’s right in the middle of the day. And when do you normally have to do stuff? Right in the middle of the day. If I miss all or a portion of any Steelers game, it’s usually one that starts after 4 p.m. EST.
I even like 1 p.m. games more than Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football (although, MNF is way cooler than SNF).
You can’t tell me you don’t love 1 p.m. EST games, too, especially if you’re in another country. What about BSTC’s own Owen David? He hails from England, which is five hours ahead of the eastern time zone. A 1 p.m. EST game in America is a 6 p.m. game in England. Not bad. But an 8 p.m. EST game in America is a 1 a.m. game in England.
I love the Steelers and am a Pittsburgh native—I could drive to Heinz Field in 10 minutes—but if they ever had a game that started at 1 a.m. EST, I would catch the box score in the morning.
Primetime starts are overhyped, anyway. What if you want to go to the game and tailgate for hours and hours before the kickoff? Not only is the game over by the time you come to in the back of your friend’s car, but it’s the middle of the night, and some woman is mooning you through the window for some reason.
Stuff like that happens less at 1 p.m. kickoffs.
Finally, I’m already looking forward to the first game of the season—a 1 p.m. EST affair against the Bengals—and sitting in my recliner with my feet up.
Just like God intended.