The last week’s Divisional Playoff game that took place on the Heinz Field provided some interesting insight. During the game, the Steelers fans became restless and a lot of opinions about their team could be heard, most of which were not positive.
2017 Team Stats
Pts Yds Pass Rush 25.4
A majority commented on the Steelers odds for next season, but also their chance for the Super Bowl. Many were glad to see what they thought was the final game for their team live, while others doubted they could beat the Patriots. However, the dominant idea was the Steelers must win the Super Bowl while the window of opportunity is open.
In this case, the same window is represented by Ben Roethlisberger and his remaining years in the role of a quarterback. For most fans, as long as he is there, their team stands a shot at the championship. This concept is not new and was repressed by players like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck before. Roethlisberger is not just in great shape for the second half of the 2017 season, but also has incredible firepower when it comes to offense. In case LeVeon Bell ends up leaving the team or skipping a season, the Steelers will still have a great selection of tight ends, but also a fantastic offensive line. Of course, the chance of losing the All-Pro running back during the off-season is not a trivial thing, but even if Bell leaves, the buck stops with Mike Tomlin.
At the same time, the team from Pittsburgh was in the championship contention every year under Tomlin’s care, even during those back 8-8 seasons that took place in 2012 and a year later. This is the reason why so many believe that the window of opportunity is not connected to Ben Roethlisberger but to Mike Tomlin being the team’s head coach. While there is something of a chicken/egg dilemma with the coach-quarterback relationship, not many would say that Tomlin benefits from Ben Roethlisberger and not the other way around. In his decade-plus as a coach of the Steelers, he managed to show himself as a shrewd evaluator of talent.
This was seen in him taking on blue-chip talent early on, star receivers in the middle rounds and the high-level players during the final ones. Not long ago, Jonathan Dwyer was the team lead rusher and Roethlisberger was most-sacked QB in the NFL. That is why Tomlin found the top running back of his generation and created an incredible offensive line. When his defense got older while the offense became faster and smaller, Tomlin upgraded the defensive line with fast newcomers. Most do not expect the Steelers to cruise through the departure of their main star, especially because the same happens to all teams.
However, the fans should have faith in Tomlin and his ability to keep his ship afloat after Roethlisberger and with it, the Steelers odds for next season. If this happens, the Steelers window can remain open for good as long as Tomlin keeps developing such excellent homegrown players. However, the issue when will this window lead to a Super Bowl ring for him and his team is a whole other question.
|28||Total First Downs||22|
|4 - 23 - 1||1st Downs (Rush-Pass-By Penalty)||9 - 12 - 1|
|7/16||3rd Down Conversions||8/14|
|4/6||4th Down Conversions||1/1|
|545||Total Offensive Yds||378|
|78 - 7.0||Offense (Plays-Avg Yds)||61 - 6.2|
|83||Total Rushing Yds||164|
|18 - 4.6||Rushing (Plays-Avg Yards)||35 - 4.7|
|462||Total Passing Yds||214|
|37 - 58 - 1 - 8.1||Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Avg)||14 - 26 - 0 - 8.2|
|1 - 5 - 0 - 0||(Rush-Pass-Ret-Def)||4 - 1 - 0 - 1|
|31:10||Time of Possession||28:50|