Denver, CO. When the Pittsburgh Steelers made their trip west last January for wildcard weekend, most NFL fans felt they would be leaving town after a victory and moving on to the divisional round of the playoffs. As everyone knows, this is not how things played out, and one of the most memorable finishes in recent NFL post-season history unfolded. Tebow-mania struck again, and one play is all it took to send the Steelers home and abruptly end their season. The Broncos, after sliding into playoffs at just 8-8, stunned the sports world with a 29-23 win, and in improbable fashion….a long pass play from Tim to Demaryius. Denver, who finished the season as the #1 ranked rushing offense, struggled mightily all season to do much damage through the air. Pittsburgh has now had almost 7 months to chew on that loss, and in five short weeks will head back to Denver for some retribution.
Back in April when the NFL schedule was released, a few games stood out as must-see NFL contests in 2012. One of the first, for really any NFL fan, had to be the Denver Broncos home opener on September 9th vs the Pittsburgh Steelers. Talk about some serious anticipation for a variety of reasons. As previously mentioned, the Steelers will want some sort of payback after their 2011 season was ended sooner than they had planned. Pittsburgh, who is accustomed to going deep in the playoffs, will have plenty of motivation in this one. The Broncos signal caller on that day back in January, Tim Tebow, is now history, and Denver has a new guy that missed all of 2011. The return to the NFL of Peyton Manning has intrigued fans for months now, and even the most casual fan will want to see how he does in his new uniform. Will he be his old self, slinging darts to his new receiving targets, or will he show several layers of rust, and look every bit of 36 years old? These are just a few of the questions that millions of football fans have about Mr. Manning as the season approaches. Add in the fact that it is in prime time on that particular Sunday night, and we could be looking at some TV ratings that end up setting a new standard for regular season NFL football. This matchup of Denver vs Pittsburgh could wind up being the most watched NFL regular season game in history. The storylines are there, the star power is there, and it will be the only game on TV at that time. History could be in the making.
It is just one game, and plenty of teams have bounced back after starting their season at 0-1. But this game coming up on September 9th is a little bit different. The winner could have some major momentum heading into the rest of 2012, and will be an early season power in the AFC. The loser shouldn’t panic by any means, but a loss in week one could snowball into something that could be difficult to climb out of. Regardless of which team you will be rooting for, Steelers versus Broncos should have all football fans on the edge of their seats.