The Pittsburgh Steelers well underway with the offseason workouts at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the heart of the offseason, where hope springs eternal following a few months of pretty significant changes, in terms of both departures and arrivals.
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: Where would you rank the 2018 season in terms of overall player/coach performance during the Mike Tomlin era?
I happened to be reading through some of the local beat writers’ takes yesterday and I came across one of them mentioning that many viewed the 2018 season as arguably the worst in the Mike Tomlin era. Considering that it’s not the worst record he has ever posted at 9-6-1, it struck me a bit odd at first, but the logic behind it came to me as I thought about it more.
And I continued to think about it enough to bring it to the community. Where do you rank the 2018 season for the Steelers, as a team, factoring in player and coach performance, since Tomlin took over in 2007? Is it the worst season the team has had in that time period?
Pittsburgh was coming off of a 13-3 regular season in 2017, though they did get bounced out of the playoffs in their first game following a bye week. They were 7-2-1 with six games left to play, but ended up losing four of the final six.
Some of those losses came under unusual circumstances. The Los Angeles Chargers were gifted a couple of touchdowns due to penalties not called, and the Steelers allowed them another. The Denver Broncos also had some good fortune go their way, as did the Oakland Raiders. And as for the New Orleans Saints game, you could talk about that incorrect pass interference call, but that was early in the game. Stevan Ridley’s fumble was a bigger issue, I believe.
Was it worst than the 2012 and 2013 seasons? In 2012, they did start out 6-3 before going 2-5 the rest of the way, though that coincided with a Ben Roethlisberger injury. They lost their first four games in 2013 and were never really in the running that year. As for the 2009 ‘unleash hell’ year, some key defensive injuries played a very large role in that downturn that included a five-game losing streak following a 6-2 start.