Steelers schedule update: Some late Sunday games to start later
June 29, 2012 4:00 AM
By Dan Gigler Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Five Steelers games this season will start 10 minutes later after a decision by the NFL Thursday to move the kickoff time for the late afternoon Sunday doubleheader games from 4:15 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.
One home Steelers game and four road games will change.
The Steelers' home opener Sept. 16 against the New York Jets will now start at 4:25 p.m., as will the following road games: Sept. 23 at Oakland, Nov. 4 at the New York Giants, Dec. 2 at Baltimore and Dec. 16 at Dallas.
According to an NFL release, the later kickoff time will reduce the likelihood of fans missing the finish of a 1 p.m. telecast because TV contract rules require the networks to broadcast the opening kickoff of every home-market team's late-afternoon games.
For instance: if Baltimore is playing a 1 p.m. game with playoff implications for the Steelers, who play at 4:25 p.m., interested fans would be more likely to see the end of that Ravens game before the broadcast switches to the later Steelers game.
Addressing the matter, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted that the "Small shift in [kickoff] time on [limited number] of games will result in significant benefit for many NFL TV viewers."
The decision came about after an analysis of games from the 2009-11 seasons.
The NFL found that 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader kickoff.
With a 4:25 p.m. kickoff time, that number would have been reduced to 15.
The league estimates that approximately 40 games will be impacted by the shift in starting times.
The 4:05 p.m. kickoff time for games not on the doubleheader network will remain unchanged.
NOTES -- The Steelers added linebacker Ryan Baker to the active roster and cut former Pitt linebacker and Aliquippa native Brandon Lindsey. Baker, an undrafted rookie free agent from LSU, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April but he was released. Lindsey signed with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent in April.