The Pittsburgh Steelers enter today’s game against the Dallas Cowboys with an opportunity to make a bit of history for the franchise. Having gone 7-0 through the first eight weeks of the season, a victory today would bring them out to an 8-0 record, which would mark the longest streak to begin a season that the team has ever had.
Considering the fact that they have been around since 1933, and that plenty of franchises have had longest streaks, it’s actually somewhat surprising that the Steelers have never won more than seven games to begin a season. It’s also even more surprising that, before this season, they had only won more than four games to begin a season that one time, back in 1978.
That was a rather good year, of course. They finished the season 14-2 overall, and they ended up winning the Super Bowl, their third overall, thereby making them the first franchise to ever win three Super Bowls. And then they added a fourth the next year.
On paper, it would seem that the Steelers have been served this opportunity on a silver platter. They not only get to face historically one of their greatest rivals in the Cowboys—they also get to face a Dallas team that is a shadow of its former self and has been riddled with injuries.
They are down not just their first-string but also their second-string quarterback, and are in fact now turning to a fourth quarterback. After Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome injury, Andy Dalton later suffered a concussion, and is currently in quarantine with Covid-19.
Last week, the Cowboys started Ben DiNucci, but he performed so poorly that Mike McCarthy decided early on that they would turn to another option. It came down to Cooper Rush, who had been with the team for a few years in the past, but barely played, and Garrett Gilbert, who is best known for playing in the Alliance of American Football. Gilbert will get the start.
On top of that, Ezekiel Elliott may not even play. He is dealing with a hamstring injury, and according to McCarthy, he will be a true game-time decision based on how he feels during pre-game warmups. If he plays, he will be far from 100 percent, and the Steelers will be gunning for him.
It’s hard, frankly, not to take this game lightly as somebody from the outside. The Steelers are huge favorites to win this game, as they should be, and it’s hard to come up with any reason to think that they might blow it.
And with it would come franchise history, as the best start to a season that they have ever had. They will have a lot of work to do, however, if they want to match their longest winning streak overall, as they won the final 14 games of the 2004 season, going 15-1 overall.