Lights, camera, action

A Steelers' tradition that commenced on Nov. 2, 1970 is about to continue.

Are you ready for some Monday Night Football?

The Steelers' 75th all-time MNF appearance is being embraced on the South Side.

"We respect that," head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged on Tuesday. "Playing in that time slot and what it means, getting an opportunity to perform in front of an international crowd and our peers is something that we respect, but we show respect for that through preparation leading up to it.

"Our staff is preparing with an edge."

The circumstances demand as much, but so does the occasion.

"Still pretty cool," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger offered.

He's 39 and in his 18th NFL season.

But Roethlisberger, who debuted on Monday Night Football on Oct. 10, 2005 in San Diego still doesn't take such things for granted.

"It's just another game but it is something special," Roethlisberger continued. "I remember as a kid, there weren't all these games. Monday Night Football was all you had.

"And if I was nice, if I didn't ask too many times my dad might let me watch the first quarter. But most of the time I had to go to bed. Now, I get to be on the field and there's some kid somewhere begging to watch the game.

"That makes it pretty cool."

The Steelers first appeared on a Monday night in what was the third football game played at Three Rivers Stadium (Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith were on the call).

They celebrated taking the NFL's newfound national stage with a 21-10 victory over the Bengals.

Tight end Dennis Hughes caught a pair of touchdown passes, one from Terry Hanratty (who relieved Terry Bradshaw at quarterback) and one from running back Dick Hoak.

Kicker Gene Mingo was 3-for-3 on PATs.

Joe Greene (defensive tackle), Andy Russell (outside linebacker) and Mel Blount (cornerback) were among the starters on defense as second-year head Chuck Noll improved to 4-17 with the Steelers (at Paul Brown's expense).

Roethlisberger's MNF debut included leading an 11-play, 40-yard drive for a 40-yard field goal by kicker Jeff Reed with 10 seconds left in regulation that beat the Chargers, 24-22.

Monday night's hosting of the Bears continues the tradition and offers an opportunity to step into the Monday Night spotlight for the first time for rookies such as running back Najee Harris, offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr., center Kendrick Green and tight end Pat Freiermuth, among other first-timers.

They'll have much to live up to no matter what the Mannings wind up chatting about.

The Steelers' 49 victories on Monday nights are tied for first in the NFL (the 49ers also have 49, one more than the Cowboys' 48).

The Steelers will tie the Denver Broncos for fourth in all-time Monday Night Football appearances with 75 when the ball kicks off against Chicago (the Dolphins are first with 85, followed by the Cowboys' 83 and the 49ers' 78 rounding out the top three).

And the Steelers' .662 winning percentage on Monday nights (49-25-0) is the best in the NFL (the 49ers are 49-29-0 for a winning percentage of .628).

They've been especially effective in MNF home games overall (27-5-0, .844) and MNF home games against NFC teams (15-5-0, .750).

The Steelers have also won 18 consecutive Monday night games at home since a 23-20 loss to the Giants on Oct. 14, 1991.

Highlights of the streak have included:

—Roethlisberger throwing five touchdown passes in a 38-7 win over the Ravens on Nov. 5, 2007.

—Linebacker James Harrison amassing 3.5 sacks in that same blowout of Baltimore.

—Quarterback Mason Rudolph completing 85.7 percent of his passes on Sept. 30, 2019 in a 27-3 win over Cincinnati.

—Wide receiver Plaxico Burress registering 151 receiving yards on Oct. 29, 2001 in a 34-7 decision over Tennessee.

And,

—Linebacker James Farrior registering 13 tackles on Nov. 3, 2008 in a 23-6 win over Washington.

All of that history isn't as significant as continuing to stack wins this season.

But if the Steelers can live up to the Monday Night standard and continue to climb in the AFC North Division standings, so much the better.

"I'm excited for Monday," said rookie defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk. "My first Monday Night game, should be fun.

"I'm definitely pumped for that."

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