The Pittsburgh Steelers racked up quite a bit of mileage while traveling during the 2013 NFL season. The Steelers totaled over 15,000 miles traveling to road games in 2013 as the organization had trips to London and California. The Steelers’ 2014 schedule will not require nearly as much traveling.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Steelers will amass 5,823 miles in the 2014 season which will be the least amount of miles traveled from any NFL team in the 2014 season. The Steelers play the AFC South and NFC South in 2014, which is mainly why the club faces a very light travel schedule. In 2013 when the Steelers visited Oakland and London, both of those games resulted in losses for Pittsburgh. The 2013 Steelers weren’t a good football team, but the long trips surely couldn’t have helped their play on the field.
The Steelers’ longest trip in the 2014 season will be to Jacksonville. There will be only game that the Steelers leave the Eastern time zone, and that will come against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
It’s not a proven fact that traveling can affect a team’s success over the course of a season, but it’s very hard to believe that it is not a factor. Since Mike Tomlin became the head coach for the Steelers, the team is 6-16 outside of the Eastern time zone. The Steelers haven’t won a game on the West Coast in five attempts. Those facts are telling.
The 2014 schedule should not be overly tough for the Steelers. Of the team’s 13 opponents, five were playoff teams in the 2013 season. Furthermore, five teams on the Steelers’ 2014 schedule had four or less wins in 2013 — although some of those teams have the potential to turn it around in 2014.
Factoring in the Steelers’ easy travel schedule and not very difficult opponents, a playoff berth isn’t out of reach for the organization in 2014. Furthermore, the AFC North is very much up for grabs. The Baltimore Ravens had a very disappointing 2013 season, and the Cincinnati Bengals fell apart at the end of 2013, resulting in an early exit from the playoffs. The Steelers aren’t in bad shape.