Did the Steelers get a "buy" for January 9?

I don’t really even know what this means. But I need to know if my friend is going to a Steelers game on January 9, or are they not playing and I can get her to do something for me that day.

Please help!

It’s a “bye”. Whether or not the Steelers get it will depend on their record and the Patriots’ record. If both teams tie in the standings (both 15-1, 14-2, something like that), then the Steelers should get the bye and not have to play on the Wild Card weekend, the 8th and 9th. If the Steelers wind up with a better record, then they’ll get the bye. If the Patriots get the better record, then they’ll get the bye. Quite frankly, it’s still too early to tell. Give it a week or two and watch the last three minutes of the Steelers-Giants game to see if they can hold the Giants off.

If the Steelers get the bye, they’ll play at home on the 15th or 16th. If they don’t get the bye, they’ll play at home on the 8th or the 9th.

The possibilities are more complicated than astorian explained. A lot of it has to do with the Chargers and the Colts too. Bottom line: they probably will get a bye, especially since they won this morning, but we won’t know for sure for at least a week.


As hajario says, it involves the Chargers and Colts, too, but there is a possibility you could know after tommorow. Here’s a description of the current system, as well as the past ones:


There are two “byes” per conference. It’s quite likely that it will be Pittsburgh and New England that get them, but not certain yet - as I type, Pittsburgh is 13-1, New England is 12-1 and San Diego and Indianapolis are both 10-3. You COULD know after tomorrow - if San Diego and Indianapolis both lose, Pittsburgh has clinched a first round bye. Perhaps under other scenarios, too, since I don’t know the tie breakers between all these teams. You’ll likely have to wait at least a week to know.

It might be better if you and your friend move to the West Coast this week. That way she can’t go to a Steeler’s game whether they play or not. Well, unless they play a West Coast team.

I concur. I came back here to correct myself but yabob beat me to it.


The top two division-winning teams in each conference get byes the first round of playoffs. The Steelers and Patriots appear very likely to be those two, and if so neither will play that weekend.

The Steelers’ tiebreaker vs. the Patriots, due to their head to head win, would give them the home field for the AFC title game between those two, assuming they both get there with the same record.

Off the top of my head, yes, the Steelers will get a bye. They have 13 wins, which means the worst case scenario is that they go 13-3 and have to go to tiebreakers against the Colts and Chargers.

The first two tiebreakers are common games and conference record, though I’m not positive they’re in that order. The problem with common games is that there is a difficult-to-meet minimum requirement. Due to the schedule structure, it is highly unlikely that any two teams, much less three, will have enough games in common to qualify unless they are in the same division.

But assuming there were enough, the Steelers beat the Jets who beat the Chargers, and the Steelers beat the Patriots who beat the Colts, so without bothering to dig up the actual schedules and figure out who the Ravens and Bills played, plus whoever is on the Chargers and Colts schedule the rest of the way, I’d say the Steelers have the edge in common games.

That brings us to conference record. The only possible way it is even an issue, remember, is if the Steelers lose out, so they’ll have lost to the Bills and been swept by the Ravens, making their conference record 9-3. I’m straining to rememeber who the Chargers and Colts already lost to; I remember the Jets beat the Chargers, the Chiefs and Pats beat the Colts, but I got nothing after that.

Basically, in order for the Steelers not to get a first round bye, they need to lose out, (which is actually not as unlikely as one might think), the Colts and/or Chargers both need to win out AND have been beaten by an NFC team.

I’d give it a charitable 5% chance the Steelers fail to get a bye.

The Colts play the Chargers next week so only one of them could be tied with the Steelers at the end. The Chargers lost to the NFC’s Atlanta. The Colts three losses are from AFC teams. That means that the Chargers have to win their next three and the Steelers have to lose their next two. Not very likely.

However, in order for the Steelers to clinch a bye today, Cleveland needs to beat the Chargers which probably won’t happen.


Have you looked at the weather in Cleveland? It’s snowy, it’s windy, it feels like 1 degree out there. The Browns have huge homefield advantage with this weather. Now, last week, I would have agreed with you, even though I want the Chargers to lose (for both Pittsburgh and especially Denver.)

Yeah, now the poor Chargers will have to rely more on their ground game. How do you think LT will do against almost the worst rushing defense in the NFL?

Haj, Charger fan since 1981

You would be right if the Browns were a legitimate NFL team, instead of the bunch of rich “phone-it-in” posers that they are.

Hey, if you want to pray for improbable results to benefit the Steelers, direct that effort towards making Miami somehow pull the upset of the season and beat New England on Monday night. That wouldn’t absolutely lock everything for Pittsburgh, but it would mean that another Steeler win would keep all playoff games in Pittsburgh and out of Foxboro.

According to the official NFL website, the Steelers will clinch a first round bye if one of two scenarios occurs:

  1. San Diego loses and Indianapolis loses
  2. San Diego ties and Indianapolis ties

And now that San Diego has won today, you will have to wait another week to see if the Steelers get a first round bye.

I’ve not yet done that math, but it appears that my beloved Steelers now need only win one of the last two (or have SD or Indy lose or tie at least once each) for a first round bye. Is that correct?


The Steelers have two games left to play and have 1 loss. The Chargers have 3 losses with two games left to play. The Colts have 3 losses and three games to play.

However, the Colts and Chargers play each other next week so 1 of them will most likely get a loss. (The chances of a tie game involving the Colts are exceedingly slim in my opinion).

So then even if the Steelers slipped up and lost both of their remaining games, they would need to prevail in a tiebreaker against either the Colts or Chargers to get the bye. I’m not sure what the NFL uses for that situation. The Steelers did not play either team this year. The conference records in that situation would both be 9-3 and then it would likely be common opponents or strength of victory.

As I said above, common games have a minimum number of games that is almost guaranteed to not exist, due to the structure of the schedule*, so that’s pretty much out. Regarding the AFC record, it was pointed out that the Chargers have a loss to the Falcons, meaning that they only have 2 losses in the conference, making their potential conference record better than the Steelers.

I also just remembered that a high priority tie-breaker, I believe the second one after conference games, is strength of victory. As in, add up all the records of all the teams beaten and compare. There is no team in the league that has anywhere near the strength of victory that the Steelers have.

*The Steelers play the AFC North, the AFC East, the NFC East, and one team each from the AFC South and West. The Chargers played the AFC West, the AFC South, and the NFC South, plus one team each from the AFC North and East. Unless they played each other – meaning they finished in the same divisional rank last season – they will only have 2 games in common, which does not meet the minimum criteria. I’m pretty sure that because of this fact, the common games tiebreaker was scrapped in favor of strength of victory.

I live in Cleveland and it was 13 degrees last time I went out.

Well, thanks for all the answers. I’m still very mixed up.

I just hope the Steelers get a bye for the 9th. Then my friend won’t be going to a game that day. She can do my work for me instead so I can go out of town.

Go Steelers!

OK. Here’s the deal.

The Steelers will get a bye if any one of the following four things happen next week:

  1. The Steelers beat the Ravens


  1. The Steelers and the Ravens tie


  1. The Chargers and the Colts tie


  1. The Chargers beat the Colts AND the Jets beat the Patriots

Easy as pie!