Steelers 2024 schedule seems even shadier after the 'Hard Knocks' news

Does the AFC North being featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks' prove that there was a sinister agenda for Pittsburgh's 2024 schedule?
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

On July 17, the football world learned that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be part of a full division to be featured on the HBO hit docuseries, 'Hard Knocks.' After the league announced that 'Hard Knocks' will follow the New York Giants and Chicago Bears in 2024, HBO will be expanding coverage to include a division for the first time.

HBO recorded the first season of 'Hard Knocks' all the way back in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens. Over two decades later, the Steelers will make their first appearance on the hit show. Pittsburgh also joins Cleveland, Baltimore, and Cincinnati as the first teams to be featured in a 'Hard Knocks' show focused around an entire division.

While expanding 'Hard Knocks' coverage in 2024 seems coincidental, the league may have played a mischievous part in all of this.

NFL schedule makers had a sinister agenda for the Steelers

When the 2024 NFL schedule was released, the talk of the Pittsburgh Steelers revolved around their brutal schedule in the back half of the season. From Week 11 through Week 18, the Steelers won't play a single team with a losing record from the 2023 season while playing the Eagles on the road and the Chiefs on Christmas Day.

However, the most notable takeaway is that the Steelers will play every single divisional game from Week 11 until the end of the season. This means six total games against Browns, Ravens, and Bengals in an eight-week span to close the year.

This was the first time ever the Steelers would have played all of their divisional games this late. But as it turns out, this may not be a coincidence.

After the NFL announced that the AFC North will be featured on Hard Knocks, with the first episode airing on December 3rd, we can't help but think this was all part of the plan. December is jam-packed with AFC North rival matchups that will play perfectly into storylines for HBO as they cover one of the NFL's best divisions this year.

Did the NFL screw the Steelers when making the 2024 schedule for the sake of hyping up 'Hard Knocks'? We can't say for sure, but it's certainly starting to feel that way.

Regardless of the motive behind giving Pittsburgh the most difficult schedule in the NFL from Week 11 to Week 18, let's hope Mike Tomlin and his team can rise to the challenge to finish the year strong.