NFL schedules were released on May 12th. Here’s why one ESPN analyst thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers were the biggest winner with their schedule.
While it doesn’t draw nearly the same attention as an event like the NFL Draft, many fans look forward to the NFL schedule release each year. Though we already knew which games were going to be on the agenda, we didn’t know exactly where they would fall on the calendar.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have some daunting matchups in 2022. This starts from the gate with a road game against the reigning AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals followed by games against the Patriots and Browns. Then leading up to their bye week, they have a difficult four-game stretch against the Bills, Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Eagles — three of which are on the road.
This doesn’t even include most of their divisional games that will come in the second half of the season. Yet despite the challenging road ahead, one NFL analyst calls the Steelers the biggest winner of the NFL schedule release. Here’s what ESPN’s Matt Bowen had to say when asked about the biggest winner:
"The Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Tomlin’s team doesn’t leave the Eastern time zone all season. Anything that reduces travel time has to be looked at as a positive from a player’s perspective."
The reasoning is really quite simple. The Steelers won’t leave the Eastern time zone for the entire NFL season. Bowen made no mention of their difficult strength of schedule, this is an advantage for Pittsburgh that cannot be understated.
Steelers get a huge advantage with the 2022 schedule
I don’t remember the last time a team had to travel such a short distance all season long. According to Front Office Sports, Mike Tomlin’s team will travel a total distance of just 6,442 miles all season. Compare this to a team like the Seahawks who will be traveling a distance of 29,466 miles during the same span.
Though there are plenty of teams with easier matchups this year, the Steelers don’t have to worry about switching time zones every other week and being jetlagged before big games.
While this might not seem like a big advantage, I doubt Mike Tomlin would like to trade schedules with a team with easier opponents but is forced to travel three times the distance with numerous games across time zones.
Though we can’t predict if and when injuries will occur, not being well-rested isn’t an excuse the Steelers will be able to use this year, as they will stay closer to home than any team in the league in 2022.
Interestingly enough, Pittsburgh doesn’t have a single 4:00 p.m. ET game this year. Instead, they have eleven games that will kick off at 1:00 p.m. ET as well as five primetime games. The time and network of their final game in Week 18 against the Cleveland Browns is to be determined.
Because they will stay so close to home, it will be interesting to see if so many early games prove to be another advantage to them. Personally, I really like the way the schedule turned out.
The Steelers may be underdogs for many of these contests, but they have a big advantage that their opponents won’t this year. You can check out Pittsburgh’s full 2022 schedule here.