The Steelers have one glaring problem to deal with now that the NFL is going with a 17-game schedule.
The NFL has officially made the decision to adopt a 17-game regular season schedule in 2021. Of course, that means more money for the league. The only problem is this adds another game to what could already be considered a long and grueling schedule before even factoring in postseason games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are trying to have one last road to glory with Ben Roethlisberger in 2021. This new 17-game schedule means another game on the field for the veteran who has dealt with countless injuries throughout his career.
Concerns in Pittsburgh with new 17-game schedule
Roethlisberger is back in 2021 after starting in 15 games for the Steelers last season. He missed Week 17 as the Steelers had already clinched a home playoff game.
This came after a 2019 season in which he only made two starts before leaving with an elbow injury. That injury is not necessarily the concern when it comes to the longer schedule. It is everything else that has plagued him throughout his long career.
He is now 39 years old as well and noticeably slowing down. His last game, a playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, saw him toss four interceptions in addition to his four touchdowns and 501 yards. The yardage and touchdowns become pointless when the game is so far out of reach.
Pittsburgh does not have a strong succession plan in place right now and are going all-in with Roethlisberger in 2021. His money and reluctance to retire dictated that decision.
The ideal situation is landing a first-round bye early on again and letting Roethlisberger get some reason during the season. However, another 11-0 start may not be possible with a stronger division and the fact Roethlisberger is not his former self.