Quick thoughts on the Steelers' 2012 schedule ...
Sunday, Sept. 9: at Denver, 8:20 p.m. (NBC) -- Peyton Manning in Orange Crush. Ryan Clark not in uniform. Half of this game will still be spent talking about Tim Tebow, and you'll see endless replays of January's playoff collapse.
Sunday, Sept. 16: N.Y. Jets, 4:15 p.m. (CBS) -- All of this game will be spent talking about Tim Tebow, and you'll see endless replays of January's playoff collapse. Throw in a little Sanchez, Santonio and Rex for good measure and you get the NFL's answer to Jersey Shore.
Sunday, Sept. 23: at Oakland, 4:15 p.m. (CBS) -- Steelers see Carson Palmer in silver & black for the first time.
Sunday, Sept. 30: Bye -- and an early bye week at that.
Sunday, Oct. 7: Philadelphia, 1 p.m. (FOX) -- If Pittsburgh wins, can this retroactively be applied to the Penguins/Flyers series? Vick versus Roethlisberger in what two-years ago would've been a p.r. nightmare for the NFL. Also, Pitt product Shady McCoy returns to Heinz Field.
Thursday, Oct. 11: at Tennessee, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network) -- Thursday night games are annoying. That is all.
Sunday, Oct. 21: at Cincinnati, 8:20 p.m. (NBC) -- Divisional play begins. Will Andy Dalton and the Bengals contend for the AFC North crown? Stay tuned.
Sunday, Oct. 28: Washington, 1 p.m. (FOX) -- RG3 comes to the Steel City.
Sunday, Nov. 4: at N.Y. Giants, 4:15 p.m. (CBS) -- A visiting to the defending champs in the 2004 NFL Draft rubber match -- Ben and Eli are 1-1 against each other.
Monday, Nov. 12: Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Think Todd Haley might be a little excited for this one?
Sunday, Nov. 18: Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. (NBC) -- The first of two throwdowns with the the Ravens in three weeks. On paper, this is incredibly exciting. But if either team is in the midst of an injury bug, it could cripple their season. Final chance for you to boo Ray Lewis and Ed Reed at Heinz Field?
Sunday, Nov. 25: at Cleveland, 1 p.m. (CBS) -- Nice of the league to give the Steelers a bye between Ravens games. Oh, wait ... Colt McCoy under center for Cleveland? Or maybe Ryan Tannehill? Or Trent Richardson in the backfield?
Sunday, Dec. 2: at Baltimore, 4:15 p.m. (CBS) -- This game might not decide the AFC North, but it could go a long way to that end.
Sunday, Dec. 9: San Diego, 1 p.m. (CBS) -- According to the schedule formula, this game was due to be played out in San Diego, offering Steeler Nation (and the media covering it) the perfect chance for a late-fall football getaway to warmer climes. But noooooooo .... that stupid cross-country scheduling rule takes precedent. And no, I don't have a friend in San Diego that I could've crashed with if that's what you're wondering.
Sunday, Dec. 16: at Dallas, 4:15 p.m. (CBS) -- Steelers first visit to Jerry-land since Super Bowl XLV. Thought maybe this would've been a Thanksgiving Day game.
Sunday, Dec. 23: Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (CBS) -- Fitting that the 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception is a home game.
Sunday, Dec. 30: Cleveland, 1 p.m. (CBS) -- Remember like years ago, when the prospect of December football against Cleveland was truly exciting? Me neither. Maybe that will change this year.