Would the Steelers have beaten the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV?

Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hugs head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hugs head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Steelers did not play in Super Bowl LV but if we had played, would we have beaten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? 

I don’t know about you, but as far as the entertainment quality of a Super Bowl, the game played between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was anything but entertaining. I was left wondering if the Steelers would have emerged victorious.

So let’s rewind a little bit and assume we would have beaten the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the playoffs, which, by the way, we should have, but that’s ancient history now.  From there, we would have had to have gone to Buffalo for a matchup against the Bills.

Frankly, that would have been a ‘tall task’ to beat the Bills in Buffalo, but let’s assume we did.  From there, it would have been on to Kansas City to face the Chiefs.  Honestly, as much as I think it would have been a tough matchup against the Bills, I think we would have matched up better against the Chiefs.

The Steelers have both lost to and have beaten the Chiefs in playoff games in Kansas City, which is why I believe we would have ‘come out on top’.  Don’t get me wrong, it would not have been a ‘cakewalk’, but I think the ability to put pressure on the opposing QB would have been the difference in the game, much like it was in reality in Super Bowl LV.

So here’s my assessment of how the Steelers would have fared against the Buccaneers.  On the offensive side of the ball, we would have had to have established the running game that, quite frankly, was feckless during the 2020 season.  With that said, I believe we would have done whatever we had to do to get the running game back on track.

The Steelers would have had a ‘tough row to hoe’ against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers pass rush was relentless against the Chiefs, forcing Patrick Mahomes out of the pocket on what seemed like every passing play.  I don’t know if that would have been the case against the Steelers ‘O-line’, but if the line had not been able to hold up, it would have been tough to throw the ball, particularly deep.

The Steelers would have then been forced to run the ball and to rely on the short passing game.  Personally, I think the Chiefs should have called more screenplays. At one time, the middle screen was a staple of our offense and we ran it to perfection. Who knows if it would have worked against the ‘Bucs?

On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers thrive on pressure and creating turnovers.  The Chiefs were able to apply some pressure on Tom Brady, but not enough to make a difference.  Brady was able to sit back in the pocket and proverbially carve up the Chiefs defense.  Would he have been able to do the same against us?

I think if we’re being objective, the style of defense we played almost the entire 2020 season may not have been the answer against Brady and the ‘Bucs.  I think our best chance of winning on the defensive side of the ball would have been to apply as much pressure as possible and trust that our guys would have held up in coverage.

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Would the Steelers have fared better than the Chiefs did against the ‘Bucs?  I believe we would have, but would we have won Super Bowl LV? I guess the answer to that question depends on your perspective.  I go back to 1978, so I’ve been spoiled.  I would like to think that we would have won, but I guess we will never find out.