It’s more been more than a decade since the Pittsburgh Steelers hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. So what can Mike Tomlin’s club do to capture Super Bowl LIV?
There’s been no losing seasons for the franchise since 2003. Over that time, head coaches Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin have led the Pittsburgh Steelers to three Super Bowl appearances and one victory by each in 2005 and ’08, respectively. Tomlin would guide the Black and Gold back to the “Big Game” in 2010, where the club would come up short against the Green Bay Packers in XXV at Arlington, 31-25.
But there been no trip to the Super Bowl since and only one appearance in the AFC title game since 2011. This past season, Tomlin’s squad started slow and after 10 games owned a 7-2-1 record. But the team unraveled down the stretch and the Steelers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
This remains a talented squad. And if things fall into place, the club could be playing for a seventh Lombardi Trophy. So what are the biggest factors when it comes to Pittsburgh going to the Super Bowl?
5. Improved pass defense
In 2017, only four teams in the league allowed fewer passing yards than the Steelers. This past season, the club was ranked 10th in the NFL in the same category. In ’18, Tomlin’s club finished tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the league lead with 52 sacks. That was one year after Pittsburgh paced the NFL with 56 quarterback traps.
So explain how this club allowed 27 touchdown passes – seven more than in ’17 – and a total of 40 offensive TDs this past year?
Former first-round pick Artie Burns (2016) has been a disappointment at cornerback. The jury is still out on ’18 first-round selection Terrell Edmunds at safety. The pass rush can be potent at times and T.J. Watt was a Pro Bowler this past season. But 2015 edge performer Bud Dupree has been up and down.
As has been well documented, the Steelers traded up in the first round to get a talented inside linebacker…And without further delay…