The Steelers-Patriots rivalry won’t see the dip we anticipated

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Despite expectations, it appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry with the New England Patriots won’t suffer too big of a drop in relevance.

In the 21st century, the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots have been two of the AFC’s most prominent powers, combining for an astounding 12 Super Bowl appearances and eight Super Bowl wins.

Obviously, having a pair of teams that formidable share a conference paves the way for quite the postseason rivalry to develop, and that is exactly what happened between the two as time went on.

Each half of the 2000s/2010s Steelers-Patriots lore was headlined by its quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady, respectively. The star QBs were known for their intense battles against one another, supported by fellow renowned talents scattered all over the field, and led by masterminds on the sidelines. However, all good things must come to an end.

The Patriots have now spent a couple of seasons without their beloved Brady, while Pittsburgh’s Roethlisberger officially announced that he would be hanging up his cleats for good back in January.

When considering New England’s postseason-less first run with Cam Newton at its offense’s helm, along with how subpar the Steelers have played in recent memory, the high-profile rivalry appeared to be in serious danger of taking a lengthy hiatus. But, this upcoming season may begin to tell a different story.

Steelers vs Patriots will still be heated

For starters, the pair will be facing off this September in the regular season, and any true fan knows that they have had their fair share of intense matchups outside of the playoffs as well. That game defining the start of each team’s 2022 slate would surely make things feel just like old times.

As for the postseason, though, both the Patriots and Steelers managed to secure Wild Card spots in the AFC bracket last year. Since then, the dynamic duo of Mac Jones and Bill Belichick has only gotten stronger, while Pittsburgh has made a point of acquiring multiple playmakers for each side of the ball.

Despite all of that, there is very little chance of either team coming out on top of their conference anytime soon, as today, it is filled to the brim with superior names. Said names include but are not limited to the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cincinnati Bengals. And that goes without even touching on just how bad they got whooped in their aforementioned Wild Card appearances.

But nonetheless, the point to take away from all of this is that the playoff rivalry between the Steelers and Patriots is very much alive, as there is still a decent possibility of them running into one another in the bracket–the winner just might not be a Super Bowl front-runner like it once was.

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Has the rivalry between the two iconic franchises taken a hit in overall importance? Unfortunately, yes. But at the end of the day, it is not dead. So even when having to rely on a miracle to make the postseason, there are still grounds for Steelers fans to hate those stinking Patriots.