So close, yet so far
Following a decent 2016-17 season in which the Steelers almost reached the coveted Super Bowl final, their ambitions were concluded by the eventual champions New England Patriots defeated who them in the AFC Championship. Nonetheless, their supporters are buoyed by the optimism and momentum attained last season, which has transpired to their early season form. Despite failing to produce a convincing performance, the Steelers registered a 21-18 victory against divisional rivals the Cleveland Browns.
Indeed, the Black and Gold are widely anticipated to conquer their division, albeit the question most associated with their team is their capacity to reach the most prestigious stage in American Football. As alluded to earlier, the Steelers fell at the final hurdle to the might and dynamism of the eventual champions. This season, their supporters are united in the view that they can go one better, and lift the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Despite winning the Superbowl on six occasions, the Steelers haven’t won the competition in almost a decade; their last success was the indelible 27-23 victory against the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. Nonetheless, there is a sense of considerable and enthused optimism that this year might be the season in which Pittsburgh conclude their Super Bowl drought.
Hopes of Super Bowl success
This optimism is most certainly justified when considering the extraordinarily vast extent of their attacking arsenal. While doubts do linger regarding the fitness and physical well being of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, when the 35-year-old is at the very best of his abilities there aren’t many players who are more proficiently adept in their work than the Steelers veteran – especially with his touchdown throws.
His work is undoubtedly made easier by the wealth of attacking options that the Steelers possess at wide receiver. Antonio Brown has established his status as one of the most competent wide receivers in the game, which exhibits the capacity to influence the game at any moment. The same trait is equally applicable to Eli Rogers who registered three touchdowns last season.
Most followers of the NFL appreciate the mastery and the might of Steelers’ attacking force, one of the most potent forward outfits in football, yet the issue that could potentially hinder their Super Bowl hopes lie with their defence.
While assessing Pittsburgh’s defensive options, there’s certainly an endearing and commendable quality to their recruitment policy. They flaunt one of the most youthful defences in the NFL, and while it is certainly pleasing to see a team prioritise potential and longevity over short-term success, some questions could be raised regarding their collective inexperience.
Their 36-17 defeat in the AFC Championship last season served as an appropriate indicator of the progression and the development that their defence requires before being considered a genuinely accomplished unit. However, having attained more minutes, more experience, and ultimately, more knowledge it is conceivable that the Steelers defence will establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
This season’s prospects
There’s a long season to go before we reach the playoffs, it is almost certain that the Steelers will be present, yet the question is can they make it all the way? The Steelers are placed at 9/1 to win Super Bowl LII, who knows it could be a very fruitful bet.
Most pundits and bookmakers anticipate that the New England Patriots will be crowned NFL champions for the second successive season, their 42-27 defeat on the opening weekend of the new season against the Kansas City Chiefs demonstrates their imperfections.
With a fully-fit squad, it is conceivable that the Steelers can fight toe-to-toe with the Super Bowl champions. Nonetheless, they aren’t able to enjoy that luxury at the moment.
Before the second weekend of their season, the Stillers are trying to contend with the troubles that derive from an injury crisis.
Even though the new season has only just started, Pittsburgh is seeking to negate the threat of injury to six of their players. Jerald Hawkins, Stephon Tuitt, J.J Wilcox and Vance McDonald have all failed to participate in training for the Steelers, while linebacker Bud Dupree and safety Sean Davies had limited participation in training.
However, there is cause for optimism while assessing the role of the Steelers’ rookies during the first game of their careers with their new team. T.J Watt was the standout performer having amassed some seriously impressive statistics, while James Conner made a decent impression against the Browns.