PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night in what will be the black and gold’s first primetime game of the season.
The day will start well before kickoff for many fans on the North Shore. Heinz Field is scheduled to set off fireworks as alarms an hour and a half-hour before kickoff.
For the players, the day is a bit strange.
“That always kind of an obstacle to climb over,” linebacker T.J. Watt said. “You have the one o’clock game and you get in such a routine of waking up, eating breakfast and then going right over to the stadium. Then obviously 3:30 games it’s just slightly different. We can sleep in more, but you don’t want to sleep in too much for Sunday night games. You can squeeze a nap in there, but it’s always challenging to know if you can eat lunch, what you want to eat for dinner and all that stuff to make sure that you don’t have a stomach ache or anything like that on a Sunday night game.”
Instead of their usual game day routine, players need to adapt to a later kickoff. For Steelers Nation, that means football, food and activities throughout the day, all ending with the best show of the week. For players, it means staying cautious about how they handle the extra time.
“Now you’ve got to be patient, make sure your energy levels not too high, not too low,” safety Terrell Edmunds said. “You’ve got to watch what you eat before the game. You’ve got to make sure that you’re off your feet because at the end of the day, that nighttime game, everyone’s watching.
“You’ve got to be prepared. You’ve got to be ready. You’ve got to go out there and help your team.”
So, what do players do?
“I (spend the day) watching football, just hanging out with my family, getting something good to eat and just chill,” Edmunds said. “I’m trying to clear my mind because I know that nighttime is going be stressful and I’ve got to be able to stay locked in all day.”
But even with the added time throughout the day, the players are excited – because nothing beats primetime kickoff with a chance to get back to .500 on the line.
“I’m super-excited for Heinz Field,” Watt said. “It was pretty rocking and rolling the last time we played there for a nighttime atmosphere. I’m sure the beers will be flowing a little bit more throughout the day and the place will be absolutely nuts. The fans help so much for us pass rushers and as a defense. The louder they are, they better we are going to play.”
“It amps up everything,” said Edmunds. “Everyone is already excited this week because everyone doesn’t play on primetime, especially Sunday night. All your peers are watching. If you ask us what we do after games each week, everyone will say the same thing, so we’ve got to go out there and put on a show.”
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