The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the home to our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. This American Football Conference (AFC) North division team was founded in 1933 and is the oldest professional football franchise in the AFC.
Throughout the life of this storied NFL franchise, the Steelers have had great times and not so great times. The franchise owners throughout the years have made concerted efforts to keep the team in contention however, always drafting or paying for the high quality talent, coaches and front office personnel needed to be competitive. This approach has made them both a fan favorite and a favorite to sports bettors on betolimp.
They were the AFC North Champions in 2017 with a 13-3 record and although they were expected to contend for an AFC title and possibly a Super Bowl, they lost in the playoffs to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Steelers today are both feared and revered. They have a solid core of talented players on the roster and look to keep this core unit together going into the 2018 season. But everything is not rosy for Steeler coach Mike Tomlin and his team. Many were questioning his judgment on some plays in the playoff loss leading to speculation that the coach might be fired. There are no plans for that to happen and with good reason, Tomlin has never had a losing record as a Steeler head coach and ended the season on top of his conference again. However he does need to make some adjustments.
The unexpected loss to what many felt was an inferior Jaguars team left a lot of questions for Pittsburgh, with some, still remaining unanswered.
Their biggest question mark was whether pro bowl quarterback and franchise rock star Big Ben Roethlisberger would be returning for another season. Roethlisberger threw for 469 yards and five touchdowns in the team’s 45-42 loss to the Jaguars. He had given indications that he was wavering on this issue, but after the stunning loss his answer was unequivocal. Big Ben tweeted out immediately after the loss,”I plan on coming back next year”.
The next challenge is getting a deal done with their biggest ground threat, running back Le’Veon Bell. The star running back ran for 1291 yards on 321 carries and caught 85 passes in a pro bowl year. Pittsburgh is negotiating a new contract with Bell and hope to complete negotiations sooner rather than later. It appears that both sides want it to happen, so it looks like he will return.
Their other offensive juggernaut is wide receiver Antonio Brown who once again led the league in receiving yards. With a talented core of wide receivers behind him including wide receiver JuJu Schuster and Martavus Bryant and the always dangerous Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh is sure to be able to maintain the quality of its 4th ranked offense. Although they definitely need to shop for a quality tight end in the off season.
Challenges for the team remain in the defense department, and there needs to be some serious upgrades here. There are some standouts like Defensive End Cameron Hayward who recorded 12 sacks and Sean Davis with 90 total tackles and the defense did rank 5th in the league, but their giving up 45 points to the jaguars in a playoff game revealed that there are holes at safety and in the pass rushing department.
This will be an interesting off season for the black and gold. They need to improve their defense and hold on to the key players that have now. If they can, expect to see them challenging for the Super Bowl in 2018.