A lot is being made of the fact that Seattle is the only place Ben Roethlisberger has not played in his 12-year career, but the fact is he and the Steelers were supposed to come in 2011. And then the NFL changed the scheduling rules.
Starting in 2010, teams from the East no longer had to make two trips to the West in a season. The Steelers were slated to go to San Francisco and Seattle in 2011, but the NFL swapped Seattle out for Arizona, and the Seahawks ended up going to Pittsburgh.
The Seahawks have played in Pittsburgh twice since the infamous Super Bowl XL, getting shut out both times — Mike Holmgren’s Super Bowl remnants lost 21-0 in Mike Tomlin’s first year leading the Steelers in 2007, and Pete Carroll’s rebuilding club lost 24-0 in 2011.
This meeting comes on the 10-year anniversary of the Super Bowl XL season, and the Steelers had a reunion of that team a few weeks ago. Four players — Roethlisberger, tight end Heath Miller, linebacker James Harrison and long snapper Greg Warren — remain on the Steelers from that Super Bowl team.
Roethlisberger joked to Seattle media, “That’s how you know you’re old — when they’re doing reunions and you’re still playing.”
Speaking of Big Ben, the NFL announced the teams that will play in three London games next season, and the league is expected to have five London games by 2018. But don’t expect the Seahawks to be one of them — not as long as other teams continue to seek berths in those games.
The Seahawks have never expressed interest in playing overseas and are unlikely to. In 2005, just before the first regular-season game in Mexico and two years before the London series began, former CEO Tod Leiweke said the Seahawks weren’t interested in traveling so far.
“They didn’t need to ask us because they knew what the answer would be. Our football guys wouldn’t have been crazy about it,” Leiweke said. “I think it’s one of those things where the guys who aren’t playing in it think it’s a great idea. … It’s hard to imagine us leaving for a home game.”
Ten years later, it’s still hard to imagine. The only question is: How long until the NFL starts making every team rotate through London?
Speaking of 2016, the Seahawks’ slate will include home games vs. Atlanta, Carolina, Buffalo and Miami, plus the NFC East team that finishes in the same spot as the Seahawks within the division. The Hawks and Panthers will face each other for the sixth time in five years (possibly the seventh if the teams meet in the playoffs this season).
The Seahawks will visit the other NFC South and AFC East teams — Tampa Bay, New Orleans, New England and the New York Jets — plus their equal in the NFC North (currently Minnesota).