The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history in the NFL playoffs. With 33 total appearances, no AFC has played in the postseason more than the Steelers have in league history.
In fact, the only two teams with more NFL playoff appearances are the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Yes, the Steelers are one of the league's most storied franchises, but they did miss the playoffs this past year.
The Steelers are hoping to return to the postseason following a 9-8 finish a year ago that saw them finish third in the AFC North. Their path to the playoffs won't be easy in an ultra-competitive AFC, but if we've learned anything over the course of Mike Tomlin's tenure, it's that you can never count this team out.
What is a realistic path to the playoffs for the Steelers in 2023? How many spots are up for grabs?
Can the Steelers make the playoffs in 2023?
The NFL has continued to expand its postseason in recent years, with the latest change coming in 2020 with the addition of a third wild-card team. In total, seven teams from each conference make the playoffs.
That includes all four division winners and the three best teams from each conference, with tie-breakers determined by head-to-head and then conference record.
The Steelers were the beneficiary of the new playoff format in 2021 when they finished 9-7 and earned the seventh seed in the AFC. That was the last time Pittsburgh made the postseason. It's going to be a challenge for this Steelers team to make the playoffs in 2023. The AFC North is a tough division, and the entire conference is loaded with top-tier quarterbacks and talented rosters.
But this is the NFL — anything can happen. We saw a Steelers team led by Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges at quarterback fall a game short of the playoffs just a few years ago. Never count out Mike Tomlin and these Steelers when it comes to overachieving and competing for the playoffs.