PITTSBURGH — This week the NFL owners will meet, and it’s expected for the league to finally add a 17th game for every team to the regular season. It’s something that’s been in the works for years:
Not only does that mean more money for the NFL, but it also means a change in the scheduling formula that’s been in place. Since the NFL realignment of 2002, the scheduling process has been the same. Each team played six games in their own division, eight games split between an entire AFC and NFC division, and two games against opponents in the same conference who finished with the same ranking in their own divisions.
For the 17th game, the NFL seeks to expand that last concept to include an inter-conference opponent for each NFL team, according to Peter King. That would mean AFC vs. NFC with a matchup from two years ago based on the standings.
In the Steelers’ case, that’s the Seahawks, since the AFC North and NFC West matched up two years ago and both the Seahawks and Steelers won their divisions in 2020. When they last played it was at Heinz Field in Sept. 2019, Ben Roethlisberger suffered the elbow injury that ended his season, Mason Rudolph made his NFL debut, and the Seahawks won 28-26.