The Steelers will play the Bills on the final day of the regular season in the first meeting between Steelers Coach Bill Cowher and new Bills Coach Mike Mularkey, Cowher's offensive coordinator the past three seasons.
Adding intrigue to the game is the personal rivalry between Cowher and Bills general manager Tom Donahoe, who was fired by the Steelers after spending eight years working with Cowher as the Steelers' director of football operations.
This season's game will be the second between Cowher's Steelers and Donahoe's Bills. The Steelers won the first meeting, 20-3, at Heinz Field in 2001, Donahoe's first season with the Bills.
Donahoe hired Mularkey as Bills coach three months ago, and Mularkey in turn hired Steelers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements to be the Bills' offensive coordinator.
"It will be a cold day in Buffalo," said Steelers President Art Rooney II.
Another highlight of the Steelers' 2004 schedule is a Halloween home game against the defending champion New England Patriots.
The following Sunday, the Steelers will host their intrastate rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Steelers won't play on a Monday night for the first time since the 2000 season. It will mark only the second time in Cowher's 13 seasons as coach the Steelers will not play on a Monday night.
The Steelers will play a Sunday night game Dec. 5 when they travel to Jacksonville. The only non-Sunday regular-season game scheduled for the Steelers is Saturday, Dec. 18 game at the New York Giants.
The Steelers will play five games against playoff teams. In addition to the home games against New England and Philadelphia, the Steelers will travel to Baltimore on Sept. 19, to Dallas on Oct. 17 and host Baltimore on Dec. 26.
A potential conflict with the Pirates, the Steelers' next-door neighbor, exists on Sept. 12, when they host the Houston Astros at 1:35 p.m.
"We have had discussions with the Pirates about asking them to move their game, which I think they're considering," Rooney said.
The won-loss record of the Steelers' 2004 opponents is 122-134 (.477).
Considering weather conditions, the most difficult road game for the Steelers could be the Sept. 26 game at Miami. The Steelers traveled to Miami during the month of September twice previously under Cowher and lost both times, 21-0 in 1998 and 23-10 in 1995.
Following is the Steelers' 2004 schedule:
Saturday, Aug. 14 at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 21 HOUSTON, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 26 at Philadelphia, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 12 OAKLAND, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 19 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 26 at Miami, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 3 CINCINNATI, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 10, CLEVELAND, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 17 at Dallas, 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 24 BYE
Sunday, Oct. 31 NEW ENGLAND, 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 7 PHILADELPHIA, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 14 at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 21 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 28 WASHINGTON, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 5 at Jacksonville, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 12 NEW YORK JETS, 4:05 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 18 at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 26, BALTIMORE, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 2 at Buffalo, 1 p.m.