Rooney weighs in on Steelers schedule

The Steelers may play more night games next season than at any time in their history. They have four scheduled, tying their totals in 2005, 2002 and 1993 for most in a season.

With the NFL's new flex schedule, they could play one or two more. Pittsburgh opens with two night games -- Miami at Heinz Field on Thursday night, Sept. 7, and a Monday night game at Jacksonville on Sept. 18.

The defending Super Bowl champions also play two other night games - Sunday, Oct. 8 at San Diego and Thursday, Dec. 7 at home against Cleveland.

"I think the maximum that you can be on national television is six, so with four already scheduled we potentially could have two more that could be moved," club president Art Rooney said. "I would expect that we will have at least one moved."

If they are contenders, that could happen.

"We don't mind playing night games," Rooney said. "I guess we would rather not play that many but in this context, we are obviously hoping that we are in a situation where they want to be moving our games to the evening."

Their Nov. 5 home game against Denver, which lost to the Steelers in the AFC championship game, is a strong possibility to be moved if both teams remain contenders. So, too, is Pittsburgh's New Year's Eve game at Cincinnati.

Five of Pittsburgh's final seven games are against division opponents.

"It looks like they are trying to set things up so that the AFC North will go down to the wire with that last game against Cincinnati," Rooney said.

Rooney expects a large contingent of Steelers fans to follow tradition and again find their way in droves to games in opposing stadiums. Some teams have tried to thwart those fans' efforts by refusing to sell tickets to buyers in area codes 412 and 724, or by forcing fans to buy tickets to one or two other games if they wanted to buy them for a game against the Steelers. Dan Rooney failed to get a proposal before a vote of NFL owners at their meeting last week that would prevent teams from doing that.

"I guess we will have to go through another year that Steelers fans will have to scramble to try to find tickets," Art Rooney said. "But they have been doing a great job figuring out the system so far. I suppose they will continue to do that."

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