The Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday accomplished something that, quite frankly, isn’t very rare at all, but which has somehow eluded them for some time: begin a season with four consecutive victories. Since their founding in 1933, they have done it now just four times, and the other three times all happened in the 1970s.
After opening the year with a road victory over the New York Giants—who have yet to win a game—the Steelers proceeded to beat the Denver Broncos, the Houston Texans, and the Philadelphia Eagles, all of them at Heinz Field. The first two were winless arriving into the game, while the Eagles had one win and a tie. Their 1-3-1 record is currently the best of any of the teams they’ve faced.
Their next three opponents pose much more of a challenge. Up next is the 4-1 Cleveland Browns, who have been scoring more than 30 points per game with a four-game winning streak. Following them is the 3-0 Tennessee Titans, who play tonight. Then the 4-1 Baltimore Ravens, who have only lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“It’s always important to get out early, because you don’t know what the season holds”, Ben Roethlisberger said on Sunday evening after the Steelers’ most recent victory. “We’ve had a lot of home games—obviously, that helps”.
“But there’s still a lot of football ahead of us, and we try to break the season down into four quarters”, he added. “We were successful in this first quarter, but we still have a lot to go, a long way to go. We’ve got to continue to play football and be there for each other”.
Roethlisberger often talks about dividing the season into quarters. You have 16 games, so you take them in four-game blocks. If you post a winning record in each one, then you’re no worse than 12-4 at the end of the season—assuming no ties.
That’s the general goal, and the Steelers ran the table in the first quarter of the season. The second quarter will be their hardest of the entire year, with three four-win or undefeated teams, though the fourth game will be against a Dallas Cowboys team that is now being quarterbacked by Andy Dalton, with whom they are infinitely familiar.
Another facet of stacking wins specifically early in the 2020 season is the simple fact that, frankly, there are unknowns. While I think it’s very unlikely, we can’t entirely rule out the possibility that the season is paused or shortened, so you better get as many wins in now as you can.