Schedule strength means a lot when it comes to deciding who gets a postseason berth in the NFL. An easy schedule didn’t hand the Carolina Panthers a playoff spot, but it was a big reason they went 15-1 last year. An easy schedule kept the New York Jets in playoff contention until the end of the season, and it helped propel the Washington Redskins to a surprise NFC East crown. So it’s important to know which teams are going to get a schedule boost in 2016.
The Steelers start the season in a UPMC Rooney Sports Complex that just underwent a $10-million renovation. Giemont is very happy about that, because his weight room just doubled in size, to 10,000-plus square feet.
Everything is state of the art, from stationary bikes that can monitor performance from anywhere in the world to an “eye muscle” training center where players track spots and numbers on a digital board.
And, oh yeah, there are buckets of Quench Gum and turkey jerky for players by the front door.
“The players spend so much time here, and this is an enjoyable experience for them,” assistant strength and conditioning coordinator Marcel Pastoor said. “We have space … . We can get everybody in and out of here in allotted time [per Collective Bargaining Agreement rules].”
Among other highlights in the room:
A GPS station to track player’s practice activity, with hopes of preventing soft tissue injury.
Forty yards of AstroTurf where players can do plyometrics before or after practice. Players can go from pulling a sled to doing a squat in a matter of seconds. The Steelers believe they are the only NFL team with this amenity inside a weight room.
A cardio room overlooking the Monongahela River.
“I’m sure you guys look at it a lot differently, but I know a lot of players around the league just looking at it; I don’t know if you can feel too strongly one way or the other.”