The Steelers haven’t lost a home game on “Monday Night Football” since 1991. Do you realize how long ago that was?
So long, Mike Tomlin wasn’t even their coach yet. Get this: Bill Cowher wasn’t, either. It’s hard to believe, but Hall of Famer Chuck Noll was still the guy — in his 23rd and final season.
So long, the Bears’ coach was still Mike Ditka. Their defense still included linemen named Richard Dent, William Perry and Steve McMichael. The quarterback? That was Jim Harbaugh, who, contrary to popular belief, most certainly did not wear khakis underneath his football pants.
That 1991 loss was so long ago, the Steelers have hosted 19 Monday-nighters since then and — amazingly — won them all. And so, Monday at Heinz Field, they’ll try to make it 20-for-20 with the Bears in town.
One night later, it arrives: Day 1 of the college basketball season. Normally, I’d invite you to ignore the preseason rankings because things change so fast once the games start. It’s interesting, though, that last year’s preseason Top 25 had Gonzaga and Baylor in the top two spots. They met, of course, for the national title.
The top 10 on my preseason ballot: 1. Gonzaga, 2. Kansas, 3. Michigan, 4. UCLA, 5. Villanova, 6. Duke, 7. Purdue, 8. Kentucky, 9. Texas and 10. Memphis. Might as well add that my 11th-ranked team is Illinois.
Don’t forget to tell me how wrong I was.
Here’s what’s happening:
Packers at Chiefs (3:25 p.m., Fox-32)
You probably didn’t know this, but the Packers are without QB Aaron Rodgers. It seems he tested positive for COVID-19. Is it too late to announce this as breaking news?
Predators at Blackhawks (6 p.m., NBCSCH)
The Hawks no longer have a Jeremy Colliton problem, but they still have a 1-9-2 problem. It can’t be all on the coach that this team repeatedly shows up to the arena as ready to rock as Zamfir the pan flutist.
Titans at Rams (7:20 p.m., Peacock)
Derrick Henry was well on his way to a third straight NFL rushing title, but now he’s out with what might be a season-ending injury. Hello, Adrian Peterson? Let’s see if the old back has anything left in the tank.
Nets at Bulls (7 p.m., NBCSCH, NBA)
Kevin Durant, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge — even without busy researcher Kyrie Irving, the Nets still have the kind of team the Bulls aspire to become. Get out those measuring sticks.
Bears at Steelers (7:15 p.m., ESPN)
The Steelers were bums at 1-3. Now they’re pretty dang interesting at 4-3. QB Ben Roethlisberger has been at this NFL thing since Justin Fields was all of 5, for those of you scoring at home.
WBB: South Carolina at N.C. State (4 p.m., ESPN)
The No. 1-ranked Gamecocks and 6-5 star Aliyah Boston — the best big in the land — take on an enormous season-opening task against the No. 5 Wolfpack.
MBB: Kansas vs. Michigan State (6 p.m., ESPN)
Something is missing from this Champions Classic matchup: a Top 25 ranking for the Spartans, who are first among others receiving votes. How quickly that’ll change if they take down the No. 3 Jayhawks at Madison Square Garden.
MBB: Jackson State at Illinois (7 p.m., BTN)
The 11th-ranked Illini open against a relative lightweight — without star heavyweight Kofi Cockburn, who’s serving a three-game suspension.
MBB: Duke vs. Kentucky (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Maybe the Blue Devils and Wildcats, ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, just aren’t what they used to be? It’s Mike Krzyzewski’s final season, though, which means ESPN will obsess over him — great team or not — like he’s LeBron James for the next four-plus months.
Ball State at Northern Illinois (6 p.m., ESPN2)
It’s a must-win for the Huskies, who lead BSU by a game in the MAC West. Wednesday football: Every now and then, a real gift.
MBB: Coppin State at DePaul (8 p.m., FS1)
It’s Game 1 of the Tony Stubblefield era. Will it be better than the Dave Leitao era? Or the Oliver Purnell era? Or the Jerry Wainwright era? Or the other Leitao era?
Heat at Lakers (9 p.m., ESPN)
Everybody’s ripping the Lakers, who likely are without James because of an abdominal injury. Miami’s Jimmy Butler, off to a career-best start, seems to have the stomach for a big season.
USMNT vs. Mexico (8 p.m., ESPN2, Univision)
The Americans have put themselves in a pretty good position to make the World Cup field, but they’d love to knock off El Tri, which sits atop the CONCACAF qualifying standings. Ten bucks to the first reader who knows what “CONCACAF” stands for.
Bulls at Warriors (9 p.m., ESPN)
Steph who? Man, it sure is nice to see the Bulls on national TV for a change. Curry and the red-hot Dubs do this kind of thing all the time.
Northwestern at Wisconsin (TBD, ESPN2)
Pat Fitzgerald is an impressive 5-6 against Wisconsin, but this Badgers defense is beyond nasty. So nasty, Fitz the middle linebacker would’ve been a perfect fit for it.
Notre Dame at Virginia (TBD)
How nasty is Virginia’s defense? So nasty, the Cavaliers gave up 66 points to BYU in their last game. Even basketball coach Tony Bennett would be horrified by that number.
MBB: Florida Gulf Coast at Loyola (1 p.m., NBCSCH)
We just love checking in on our favorite big lug, Cameron Krutwig. Can’t get enough of the guy. Wait, what? He’s playing pro ball overseas now? That’s going to take some getting used to.