Steelers fans: Please stop overreacting to the NFL schedule release

Why we can all relax about the NFL schedule release; It's not as big as the league makes it out to be.
Oversized pictures of Pittsburgh Steelers players sit in the seats
Oversized pictures of Pittsburgh Steelers players sit in the seats / Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is a business that prides itself on generating a lot of revenue. While teams like the Steelers set their sites on winning every season, the league is concerned with a healthy financial budget and a passionate fan base to buy merchandise and watch the league on TV. This leads to bigger TV deals, which leads to more money, and so on and so forth.

However, for the longest time, the league struggled to keep up with some of the other sports divisions due to one of the shortest regular seasons. With football so physically demanding, you can’t play for as long as baseball players or basketball players do. For the longest time, when football season ended, you had a six-month span with little to no news on your favorite team.

For a business that needs viewers, that isn’t good. To be fair, the NFL has done a great job of bridging that gap. Free agency has become a bit of a spectacle for the league and provides a boost of interest in early March. Training camp helps get you to the start of the season.

Perhaps the best example of this philosophy is the draft, which has gone on to become a spectacle for the league. From the combine to workouts to heavy speculation of who will go where the draft culminates in a three-night event that consists of players' names being announced. Yet hundreds of thousands attend the event and millions more watch it.

In recent years, the league has also made a considerable push to make the schedule release a big deal. From having its own TV programming around it to a similar, albeit smaller, speculation period, May has been saved from the NFL slow season as fans flock to the schedule in hopes that their team lands a favorable schedule. I am here to say, as a Steelers fan, please stop overreacting to this.

Why Steelers fans can overlook this event

Let me be clear; if you enjoy the NFL schedule release, more power to you. I am a personal fan of watching college players' names get announced to teams in April, and I can understand why fans find that event dull. What I am saying is please don’t overreact to this relatively minor drop in news.

The NFL isn’t trying to screw over or help the Steelers. They are simply putting together the most logical games based on what they think will draw viewership and keep things relatively fair across 32 teams travel-wise. Sure, a stretch of home games or a well-placed bye week look great right now, but a lot will change between the schedule drop and the actual season.

A single injury can completely upheave the notions of who has a good schedule and who doesn’t. As well, teams that look like good or bad teams on paper could flip that notion by the fall. The fact is, we have known who the Steelers competition would be since the end of last season. The actual layout of when we play is trivial.

Is there a benefit to knowing the schedule in its entirety? Sure. If I were planning on making it out to some games (either locally or when the Steelers travel), knowing what week I needed to plan for is helpful. For teams playing in other countries, there is a benefit here to knowing what week or weeks that will be. The bye week is good to know as well, although the team will almost certainly welcome it whatever week they have it.

However, my outlook on the team won’t shift because they have a tough or easy stretch on paper in May. A lot will change between now and then. I give credit to the NFL. Having the schedule release in May is now a huge ordeal, and they have very few down periods in the offseason. That said, as a fan, please don’t overreact to the official schedule once it has been announced.

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