Mike Tomlin’s record and Steelers reputation can still be saved by end season

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers are off to their worst start under Mike Tomlin, but Pittsburgh’s head coach could still salvage his record by the end of the 2022 season.

When a franchise succeeds consistently, the woes that come with losing are non-existent to its fan base. The community thrives off winning energy – creating special experiences for everyone involved. Mike Tomlin’s tendencies created a new era for Steelers fans who are accustomed to winning. A losing season doesn’t exist for Tomlin or his supporters – making this year’s difficulties a tough pill to swallow.

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It’s been nineteen years since the Steelers finished with a losing record. Winning traditions introduced its fanbase to the luxuries that dominate franchise development – like unwavering confidence. A 2-6 start makes it hard to build confidence in the locker room. Tomlin’s squad sits as the second worst team in the AFC conference – similar to their season results from almost twenty years ago.

In 2003, the Steelers finished the regular season with a 6-10 record – finishing 3rd in the AFC North. Tommy Maddox started at quarterback – finishing the season with 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Talented players surrounded No.8, but the Steelers still struggled on the gridiron. Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, and Plaxico Burress carried the offense – but the efforts of three men were not enough.

At the end of the season, Pittsburgh visited the drawing board. After a few adjustments and a first-round draft pick, Bill Cowher’s squad improved. Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to two Superbowl – solidifying Cowher’s legacy in the Hall of Fame.

Could the Steelers finish with a winning record and maintain Tomlin’s consecutive winning season streak?

Mike Tomlin finds himself in a similar predicament entering week 8. Offensive issues on the field are upsetting but feel like part of the process. Pittsburgh’s front office invested in a quarterback in the previous draft, but was that the only glaring concern?

A set of skill position players make Pittsburgh a perfect fit for Kenny Picket to blossom as an elite passer. George Pickens, Najee Harris, and Diontae Johnson are nice assets on the field. Pat Friermuth is also a reliable target – showing glimpses of a great career in his early seasons.

With so many weapons available, how do the Steelers continue to struggle?

Concerns with play calling carry conversion among analysts when discussing the Steelers offensive woes. Finding a rhythm on offense will resolve one issue for Pittsburgh, but new problems arise each week – an interesting part of professional football. Tomlin continues to address one issue at a time. His demeanor remains stern, and his track record shows results.

Avoiding a losing season will require focus. Incoming opponents are beatable – combining for a record of 30-38. Developing a rookie quarterback requires patience, and the Steelers expect Picket to be a star. It would be nice to see No.8 compete well enough to lead Pittsburgh into playoff contention – and it’s not too late. Divisional matchups will play a factor in the second half of the season.

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Mike Tomlin’s record comes second to ensuring Picket is ready for his sophomore season. If the Steelers found a gem, both goals are still achievable.