It doesn't take a hardcore fan to realize that it's been a hot minute since the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves victorious following an NFL Playoff game. We were all hoping that they would find a way to upset the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round this year, but after digging themselves a 21-point hole early, it was impossible to climb back out.
For the seventh straight season, the Steelers have failed to muster up as much as a single playoff win. Remarkably, this is a longer drought than 23 other NFL teams. Sadly, their lack of postseason success goes much further back.
Since their last Super Bowl appearance following the 2010 season, Mike Tomlin's team has been a trainwreck in the playoffs. Over the past 13 years, the Steelers have managed a mere 3 playoff wins -- going 3-8 over this span.
To put this into perspective compared to the rest of the league, I've comprised a graphic. Be forewarned: this could make you sick to your stomach.
Since 2011, the Steelers have had fewer playoff wins than 17 NFL teams. This includes teams like the Bengals, Saints, Colts, Texans, and Giants. Pittsburgh isn't in the best company either. Tied with them at just 3 postseason wins over the past 13 years are the Jaguars, Panthers, Titans, and the underachieving Cowboys.
It's almost hard to believe that teams like the Seahawks and 49ers have 3 to 4 times as many playoff victories during this span. Pittsburgh's playoff games haven't been particularly close either, and they have been outscored 66-0 in the first quarter of their last five NFL Playoff games.
The question becomes: what do the Steelers do to fix this long run of disheartening play in the postseason?
Forget going year-to-year, the Steelers need to build a championship team
There are so many different avenues of thought here, it's to know where to begin. Obviously, you could start as high as team president Art Rooney II and the ownership -- arguing that they need to ditch some of their old ways and philosophies of winning.
Just under ownership is head coach Mike Tomlin, who has found himself under scrutiny as of late. Tomlin was not happy when asked about the year remaining on his contract in his post-game presser following the playoff loss against the Bills, and he made it very clear that he intends to return as the head coach for the 2024 season.
If changes aren't made at the very top, the Steelers can still take steps toward becoming a championship roster again. A change at offense coordinator will help. Matt Canada didn't last the season, and while the combination of Eddie Faulkner and Mike Sullivan did a serviceable job as interim OCs, Pittsburgh needs a more permanent fix. Hiring someone with fresh ideas outside of the organization would help.
The Steelers can also give themselves a boost to get back on track with another remarkable draft class. Omar Khan and Andy Weidl took over as general managers last offseason, and they managed to reel in an impressive draft haul in 2023. If they value money positions and take a BPA approach in 2024 (Best Player Available), this could help jumpstart their postseason success.
Above all, the Pittsburgh Steelers need to desperately hunt for an upgrade at the quarterback position -- whether this comes by trading for a veteran or a trade-up in the draft.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results. The Steelers cannot be complacent this offseason. Mike Tomlin should be on thin ice, and Pittsburgh cannot afford to go an 8th consecutive season without a single playoff win.