Can the Steelers Really Be Considered Contenders for the Super Bowl?
May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley instructs players during Steelers rookie mincamp and orientation at the UPMC Sports Complex. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
As Steelers fans, every year we expect our team to be in the Superbowl no matter what. Usually that’s a realistic expectation as we have watched our team go to the big game 3 out of the last 8 Superbowls. Compared to some teams that haven’t even been to a Superbowl in their history, we as fans have it pretty good.
This offseason, after going 8-8 last season, you can’t help but feel the hunger and drive the Steelers as a whole have. Personally, out of the past 10 years that I have followed the Steelers, they have never sounded so hungry. Several players have been quoted many times saying how disappointed they were to miss the playoffs, and how they feel the Steelers could reach the Superbowl. Todd Haley reinforced that idea when he was quoted saying:
"As a team, our expectation is to get to that confetti game, as Coach Tomlin likes to call it.”"
You also get a sense from the offensive players that Haley’s offense is really clicking for them now. I think the offense is going to do very well, with the help from the draft and overall player development. “Experts” and fans from other teams think the Steelers offense is done because of the losses of Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall. I honestly want to laugh at them because they obviously haven’t watched Steelers games that closely. Wallace killed so many drives for us, and on occasion made a play on his favorite deep ball. To me, that doesn’t seem like a big gap in the offense, especially when you still have speedsters like Brown, Sanders, and 3rd round draft pick Markus Wheaton. It’s even funnier when people think the Steelers will miss Mendenhall. A me first, often injured running back, it was best for the Steelers to get rid of Mendenhall, even with his first-round draft status.
The biggest question is: Do the Steelers have what it takes to get to the big game? According to the rest of the football world, most people don’t even think they will win the AFC North. I like it this way because it gives the Steelers even more motivation. Our team can be the one that is fighting to get to the top, and I know they like it that way. If you look at it, how many teams that were Superbowl favorites in the last several years actually won it? Last year, the Ravens just barely snuck into the playoffs, and won it. In 2011, the Giants just barely snuck into the playoffs and won it. Even though it pains me to say it, the Packers barely got in, and they won it. That is honestly the reason I believe football is the most popular sport to watch in America. Whatever team shows up to play that day usually wins. Unlike hockey or basketball, they have several chances to loose or win, so if a team showed up poorly one day, they could come back the next day and win. In football, all bets are off.
Would I consider the Steelers Superbowl favorites? No I wouldn’t, but I do see them as legitimate contenders with the coaching staff they have, as well as the new additions to their team. People will say “why would the Steelers cut James Harrison? They are in so much trouble without him.” While we could have used James Harrison, we could have used the before 2011 James Harrison. The Steelers don’t just cut people for the fun of it. They obviously have a plan, and that is what makes the Steelers a contender week in and week out. With the dominant defense the Steelers still have, and the scary offense I expect them to have this season, I can’t wait for September 8th when the Steelers begin the Stairway to Seven.
Do you think the Steelers have a legitimate chance of making it to the Superbowl? Let us know in the comments.
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