The last time that the Pittsburgh Steelers have won a playoff game, back during the 2010 season, the roster certainly looked a lot different. Players such as Maurkice Pouncey, Antonio Brown, and Jason Worilds were rookies. In fact, of that class, only Pouncey and Brown remain with the team.
Though Pouncey has been sidelined for the entire length of the season thus far, he has since established himself as a core member of this team, as the anchor of the offensive line and an elite player at his position when healthy. Brown, of course, has emerged as the best wide receiver in the game.
But Brown was not much of a factor for the Steelers back then, though Pouncey was, as a starter rookie opening day starter, even though an ankle injury kept him from playing in the Super Bowl that year. The injury came in the AFC Championship game against the Jets, the last playoff game they’ve won to date.
The team that the Steelers fielded that year certainly looked very different. Of the 22 players who took the field as starters in that AFC Championship game, just eight of them currently remain members of the organization, with seven of them on the 53-man roster—plus Pouncey on injured reserve and unlikely to be activated during this playoff run.
Starting, of course, with Ben Roethlisberger and Heath Miller, tight end Matt Spaeth also remains with the team, as does Ramon Foster, who at the time was only starting due to injury. Defensively, Lawrence Timmons remains the staple that he has been since then, while William Gay is now a permanent starter, and James Harrison continues in a rotation at his position at age 37. Pouncey is the eighth member of the 22 who started that game that are still with the team.
Only five others from that 53-man roster remain with the team, the most notable among them obviously being Brown, who was targeted twice and caught one pass for 14 yards in that game.
The other four still with the team are safety Will Allen, then a special teamer and now a starter at age 33, long snapper Greg Warren, nose tackle Steve McLendon, who is now a starter in a position sparsely used, and finally Doug Legursky, who started the Super Bowl at center in place of Pouncey, and who now has hardly played a snap on offense.
41 of the 53 men currently on the roster were not a part of the Steelers team that last won a playoff game, just five years ago. That is not necessarily unusual turnover in the NFL for that length of time, especially considering the way that the Steelers’ roster collectively grew old together, but it is significant turnover from one playoff win to another for a franchise as accomplished as Pittsburgh.
Positionally, the Steelers have retained from that team one of three quarterbacks, none of the four running backs, one of six wide receivers, two of three tight ends, three of 10 offensive linemen, one of seven defensive linemen, two of eight linebackers, two of 10 defensive backs, and one of three specialists, though that is only due to Shaun Suisham’s injury. That is certainly a lot of new faces that have never experienced a Pittsburgh playoff victory.