The Steelers are once again prime-time darlings, according to the 2005 schedule released Wednesday.
Gone are the regular routines that helped paved the way to a successful 2004 season.
This year, the Steelers play three Monday night games (at San Diego, Baltimore, at Indianapolis), a Sunday night game, a Saturday game, three late Sunday afternoon games and games on Halloween, Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.
And the bye has returned to the first quarter of the season.
Goodbye, weekly routines. Hello, bright lights.
"It's always fun to play on Monday night," said cornerback Deshea Townsend. "That's the only game that everybody has a chance to see. It's the only game on and the nation's watching. … But to play on Sunday every week was pretty good because you knew your schedule, you didn't have to stay up too late or practice at night, all those type of things."
The Steelers open at home Sunday, Sept. 11 against Tennessee. They'll travel to Houston the following week before returning home to host defending champion New England on Sept. 25.
The bye on Oct. 2 marks the quarter pole. It'll be followed by the Steelers' first Monday night game since Nov. 17, 2003 when they travel to San Diego on Oct. 10.
An Oct. 16 home game against Jacksonville and an Oct. 23 game at Cincinnati will be followed by the team's only home Monday night game, on Halloween, against rival Baltimore. It'll be the Steelers' first home Monday night game since Oct. 21, 2002 when they beat Indianapolis, 28-10.
A late Sunday afternoon home game against Green Bay opens the month of November, followed by a Sunday night home game against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers travel to Baltimore on Nov. 20 and to Indianapolis on Nov. 28 for their third Monday night game.
In December, the Steelers host Cincinnati and Chicago before traveling to Minnesota and Cleveland, the latter will be played Saturday afternoon on Christmas Eve.
The Steelers conclude their regular season on New Year's Day at home against Detroit.
The last time the Steelers played three Monday night games and a Sunday night game was 2002, when they went 10-5-1.
"It didn't throw us off," Townsend said of the irregularities that year. "You know your peers are watching. Those are important games."
Monday, Aug. 15 Philadelphia 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 20 Miami, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26 at Washington 8 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 1 at Carolina, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 11 Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 18 at Houston, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 25 New England, 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 2 BYE
Monday, Oct. 10 at San Diego, 9 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 16 Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31 Baltimore, 9 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 6 at Green Bay, 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 13 Cleveland, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20 at Baltimore, 4:15 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 28 at Indianapolis, 9 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4 Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 11 Chicago, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 18 at Minnesota, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 24 at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 1 Detroit, 1 p.m.
PITTSBURGH - What a difference a, uh, uh, a career makes. Yeah, that's Deshea Townsend over there…