It might only be spring, but the release of the NFL schedule quickly puts football season in focus for Steelers fans. They aren't alone. It does the same for the players who are currently taking part in voluntary workouts.
"It kind of gets you excited," said tight end Heath Miller. "It's a long time until the season starts. This gives you a light at the end of the tunnel, something that you are working toward and know that you are preparing for."
Fellow tight end Jerame Tuman said the players have known for a while who the team would be playing, but seeing the schedule gives a different perspective.
"It gives you a focus, gives you something to look forward to knowing when you are going to play a team, what time of year and where it is being played," said Tuman. "It starts to narrow down the focus."
And focus is one thing that will be on the black and gold next season, with five prime time games. It's something most players love, playing on prime time in front of all of their friends, family and their peers.
"It's fun to play when you know everyone is watching," said Tuman. "Growing up those were always the big prime time games, the night games. That is always exciting.
"Also it means there is a draw out there when you have that many night games; that many on national television. That means there is a request out there that people want to see you. Obviously the Steelers are a popular team and it's exciting to know that everyone wants to watch us."
The Steelers will play three prime time games at Heinz Field, with Monday Night match-ups against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 5 and the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 26. They will also host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 8:15 on NBC.
On the road they have a Sunday Night game against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 21 and a Thursday Night game on Dec. 20 against the St. Louis Rams.
"It's always fun to see we have nationally televised games," said Miller. "It gets you excited. You grew up as a kid watching Monday Night Football and to see it on your schedule is always great and it's a game you look forward to."
Some of the players were surprised when they saw the schedule and learned how many prime time games they would have after missing the playoffs last year. But they understand why they are featured on in those slots.
"It's a tribute to the Steelers," said Tuman. "They know we are going to come out and be ready to go. If we do have a down year, usually the next year we bounce back and we are right back in it. That's probably it.
"Plus a lot of the games are big match-up games and no matter what the records are with some of these teams it's always a good game. It will be interesting."