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Reports: The Patriots Open Up Against the Steelers. Yawn.

SourceThe Patriots don’t get to play the first game of the season, as has become tradition. But they won’t have to wait long for their first prime time appearance.

According to multiple reports, the Patriots will host the Steelers in the NBC’s Sunday Night Football opener on Sept. 8. The full schedule will be announced tonight at 8 p.m.

The league is opening its 100th season with its oldest rivalry — Packers-Bears — in the Thursday debut, so putting the defending champions in the spotlight game of the week makes sense.

The Patriots open the season on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers? Meh.

Of course we knew weeks ago that the NFL was going to pull this bullshit of using the 100th anniversary as an excuse not to kick off the season in Foxboro. They can say whatever they want. And this reason they pulled out of their crack at least has the ring of some truth to it. But we all know that the real reason is Roger Goodell didn’t want to come to Foxboro again. The Ginger Satan knew we’d blanket the place with clown towels right in his beady-eyed face all over again.

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots

… and he couldn’t bear the thought. So his underlings cooked up this Packers-Bears rivalry excuse. It’s OK. We’ve already accepted that.

But the Steelers? This one just doesn’t move the needle for me. Aside from the AFC East teams they could’ve faced:

–Cleveland. Simply put, with all the additions, the most interesting team in football at the moment.
–Dallas. A division winner with plenty of stars making only their 7th trip to Foxboro ever.
–NY Giants. Some wounds have never healed. Enough said. Or
–Kansas City. A rematch of the two best games played in the AFC last year, including the title game.

Any one of which would’ve provided more drama and been a way more compelling way to start the season. Instead we get Pittsburgh. Again. Sure, there’s a history there. With 50-gallon drums of bad blood. Like Mike Tomlin complaining about the Pats jamming the radio signals to the helmets with the team’s radio broadcast. Or calling them “assholes” while being recorded in the locker room. There’s the Pittsburgh press saying the officials were in the bag for New England after Jesse James lost possession:

Catch1

And of course we’ll always have “The Pick.”

But been there. Beaten that. Aside from that game last year, this has been rivalry in the in the sense Loki described Nick Fury having “no quarrel” with him. “An ant has ‘no quarrel’ with a boot.” Sending Pittburgh here is the equivalent of MLB setting the Red Sox schedule and saying “Well, they’ll sell out Opening Day anyway, so let’s send them the Marlins and save the good games for later on.” Plus we get no Antonio Brown. No Le’Veon Bell. Just the demoralized, hollowed out shell of Ben Roethlisberger. It just won’t be the same as it once was.

The one positive will be getting to teabag the Steelers and their fans who’ve been thumping their chests about being all alone with the most championships since they won their fifth in 2005. So seeing the Pats catch up to them just since 2001 will be a sweet feeling at least.