Seems like forever and a day ago since the National Football League schedule for 2017 was revealed back in the spring doesn’t it? For most Steelers’ fans, the schedule release is about planning what game to go to or circling which ones are potential wins or losses. For the vast majority this year it was about when the New England Patriots would be coming to Heinz Field.
Despite the actual schedule not being available, we are told months prior who the opponents are and where the games will be played. So when the schedule came out most of Steeler Nation was fixated on just when that Patriots’ game would be. After all, it has been believed for a year now that the AFC would be decided by which of these teams had home-field advantage and this regular season game would decide that.
Assuming the Pats take care of business in Miami tonight (Tom Brady is 7-8 all-time at Miami), both they and the Steelers will enter Sunday’s game at 11-2. Pittsburgh will have a trip to Houston and a visit from the Browns remaining. New England has games at home against Buffalo and the New York Jets. The Steelers and Patriots will be heavy favorites in those remaining games which makes this Sunday that much bigger in the grand scheme of things.
Personally I think too much has been made of this game. Talking heads have been rambling on about it for weeks and even Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin discussed it three weeks prior to it actually happening. I’ve always been of the mindset that you focus on the task at hand. Looking ahead, or “counting your chickens before they hatch,” was the one certain way to get yourself beat. Whether that becomes true remains to be seen but I haven’t heard anyone from New England talking about the Steelers have you?
I also believe this game to be over-hyped because New England has proven they can win in Heinz Field in the postseason. Twice in Ben Roethlisberger’s career, the Pats have come into Pittsburgh and left with the AFC Crown. Clearly, the home-field advantage Pittsburgh would have doesn’t worry the Pats.
All of this has not stopped Steelers’ fans from obsessing over this game for much of the offseason and to the current day. Will it pay off? We likely won’t know the answer to that until the postseason and don’t forget, whatever happens on Sunday guarantees nothing. But hey, this is what we’ve been waiting for regardless right?
Photo courtesy: cbs sports