NFL schedule release about more than dates, locations and kickoff times

It’s the same every year, eight at home and eight on the road.

But it’s a lot more this year given the circumstances.

Are the Steelers actually going to open their season by playing the New York Football Giants on Monday Night Football on Sept. 14 at MetLife Stadium?

Is Cleveland’s Myles Garrett really going to show his face on Oct. 18 at Heinz Field?

And could there possibly be anything more tantalizing on the Thanksgiving table than Steelers-Ravens?

We may never know, but we can still hope.

That’s what the NFL’s schedule release extravaganza was about more than anything else.

The NFL is planning on business as usual in September, even amid unprecedented times in May.

It might be wishful thinking.

But it’s something to cling to, something to look forward to, something to distract, much like the NFL Draft.

It’s another indication that sports in general and the NFL in particular might be back sooner rather than later after all.

And right about now that’s more than enough.

The particulars, at least initially, are insignificant.

The Sporting News has calculated the Steelers’2020 schedule to be the second-easiest in the NFL, based on their opponents’ combined .457 winning percentage last season.

But that number’s relative, particularly when you consider that for the last 30 seasons at least four teams that hadn’t qualified for the playoffs the previous season made it to the postseason (at least five teams have done so in 27 of those 30 campaigns).

As recently as in 2017, eight teams enacted such a bounce back, and the majority of those were probably initially perceived as an easy mark on somebody’s schedule.  

You never really know in the NFL from one year to the next.

This year, we don’t even know for certain if there will be a next year, when it will start, what it might look like, if it will finish.

We don’t know if there will be anyone in the stands to hear it when they play“Renegade.”

But for now there’s an opener, a bye week (you can’t time those much better than Week Eight), a trip to Jerry World (Nov. 8, in Dallas) and a visit to Nashville (Oct. 4) on the calendar.

There’s a daunting finishing kick that includes playing three of the final four on the road.

There’s even a Watt Bowl (J.J. against T.J. and Derek, when Houston visits on Sept. 27).

It’s a lot to ponder, and every bit of it beats wondering if normalcy, or some semblance of it will ever return.

Cincinnati on Dec. 21 never looked so good.

Even the Hall-of-Fame Game (Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio) seems appealing.

That’s about as atypical as it gets.

But until events dictate otherwise let the countdowns begin.

Thumbnail via Getty Images.

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