Antonio Brown just turned 30. Ben Roethlisberger is nearing the end of his career. 2018 is probably the last time we’ll see Le’Veon Bell in a Pittsburgh Steelers’ uniform. To Brown, that makes one thing very clear: 2018 is the best chance to go out and win a Super Bowl.
That’s what he recently told USA Today’s Martin Rogers, who caught with up Brown to get his thoughts on the team and Bell’s future.
“Super Bowl, that’s it,” Brown told the paper when asked what his 2018 goal was. “And I feel like that window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller. Every year we get close, right there, not quite getting over the hump. Now is the time. Absolutely, this moment has to be the moment. In regards to the situation we are in with the team and the organization this time will have to be the time.”
Pittsburgh has made the playoffs each of the last four years but only went to the AFC Championship game once, a 36-17 beatdown by the New England Patriots in 2016, a game in which Brown was limited to just 77 yards.
Brown has had a magical career and is already a sure-fire Hall of Famer but on a personal level, he’s still missing even a Super Bowl appearance (Edit: you can count 2010 but I was meaning more of a starting/high impact role), much less a ring, on his resume.
The good news for him is despite his age, he’s one of the league’s highest conditioned players and isn’t worried about turning the big three-zero.
“I feel like the older you get the smarter you get. Great players like Jerry Rice were an example of that, Cris Carter, Larry Fitzgerald.”
But assuming Bell walks after this season, it’s fair to wonder how much longer the Steelers will be in their prime to make a run at the Super Bowl. Defensively, there are big question marks. 2018 are critical years for Bud Dupree, Artie Burns, and Sean Davis. If none of those players work out, the front office may look to address those needs in addition to the 18 wheeler-sized hole left at running back.
Should the AFC North hits on their quarterback gambles, Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, Lamar Jackson in Baltimore, the division will become much tougher in a hurry. All the more reason to win today.