The Bengals have played the Steelers in gripping postseason theater, all-or-nothing regular season finales and primetime dramas.
But never have they met on Opening Day.
The reigning AFC Champs kick off the season on Sept. 11 (1 p.m.) at Paul Brown Stadium in the Steelers' first game in the post-Big Ben (Roethlisberger) era. Roethlisberger, the Ohio-bred quarterback who presided over the rivalry for 18 seasons, now bequeaths the series to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow of Athens.
It is Burrow's third opener, all at home, and his first against an AFC North foe as he tries to lift his record to 2-1 on Opening Day after last year's 27-24 victory over the Vikings in what turned out to be the first game in NFL history that featured field goals on the last plays of regulation and overtime.
That was the coming out party for the Bengals' two sensational rookies when wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase grabbed five balls for 101 yards and Evan McPherson kicked a 33-yard field goal to win it.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor begins his fourth season and defense of the AFC North title with his first opener in the division. It's the first time the Bengals have hosted three straight home openers since four from 2000-2003 and begins a schedule they play ten games against teams with winning records in 2021.
The Bengals, riding a three-game winning streak against the Steelers, have opened against Cleveland more than any other division foe. Since 1974 they've played the Browns eight times on Opening Day.
Single game tickets go on sale tonight at 8 p.m. when the full schedule is released.