The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Anybody have a Browns jersey I can borrow?
So here we are, at the end of all things. In order to read the postseason, the Cleveland Browns have to post a winning record. Who is writing these scripts? Over the past six games, the Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals have each gone 1-5 while the Browns and the Baltimore Ravens have gone 5-1.
I wouldn’t say that the Bengals were a favorite to do well this year, but they are always a team with talent, and they started off strong, going 4-1 before they faced the Steelers for the first time. Pittsburgh barely beat them on a late game-winning drive, and they’ve gone 2-7 since beginning with that loss.
Of course they’ve been decimated by injuries, while the Browns have been on a role through addition through subtraction. They fired their head coach and offensive coordinator and have gone 5-2 in the past seven games since making the change, winning more games than in the past two and a half years combined.
It’s gotten them to a 7-7-1 record and on the verge of posting their first non-losing, let alone winning season for the franchise since 2007. They went 10-6 that year and finished second in the AFC North to the Steelers but still missed the playoffs.
Honestly, the Browns have become a more exciting and easier team to root for this year, so I would be rooting for them to beat the Ravens even if the Steelers’ season didn’t depend on it. Baker Mayfield is a legitimately exciting rookie starter and their budding defense has a lot of talent, while the running game with Nick Chubb certainly looks legitimate.
It’s time for Pittsburgh to become Believeland for an evening next week. It’s the difference between there being January football in Pittsburgh or not.