Steelers’ opener on MNF
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers will appear in four nationally televised prime-time games, including the first Monday Night Football game of the NFL’s 2016 regular season, and on Thanksgiving, it was announced Thursday when the NFL unveiled its 2016 regular-season schedule.
Pittsburgh will kick off its 2016 regular-season slate at the Washington Redskins in week 1 (Sept. 12) on Monday night (ESPN, 7:10 p.m.). The Steelers will host the Kansas City Chiefs in a home prime-time game at Heinz Field in week 4 (Oct. 2) on Sunday Night Football (NBC, 8:30 p.m.).
The Steelers will appear in their eighth Thanksgiving Day game in team history in week 12 (Nov. 24) at the Indianapolis Colts (NBC, 8:30 p.m.). Pittsburgh’s fourth nationally televised prime-time contest occurs at the Cincinnati Bengals in week 15 on Sunday Night Football, Dec. 18 (NBC, 8:30 p.m.).
Pittsburgh will host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16 (NFL Network, 4:30 p.m.) on Dec. 25 to mark the first Christmas Day game in franchise history.
The Steelers’ bye week will be on Oct. 30 (week 8).
“Flexible scheduling” will be used in weeks 10-15 and 17. Additionally, in weeks 5-9, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In weeks 5-15, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time.
Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game.
For week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to Jan. 1. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot.
Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime time.