Perhaps more than in any other organization in the NFL, ‘rebuild’ is about as dirty a word as you can come up with in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ front offices. At least for as long as they have had Ben Roethlisberger at the quarterback position, they have routinely refused to use that term even at their most dire moments, such as in the early 2010s when there was major turnover on the defensive side of the ball.
Now with Roethlisberger nearing the end of his career—many arguing of course that he already is at the end, or at least should be—the conversation as to whether or not the Steelers are or should be in rebuild mode is alive and well.
Steelers president Art Rooney II has already rejected the notion of a rebuild, telling reporters on Thursday, “I would just say that we’re going to try to build a championship team to go into next year”, and adding that “we’re going to put the best team on the field that we can next year and do our best to compete, number one, and win that division and move on”.
The Steelers arguably felt something of a rebuilding process at the end of Chuck Noll’s long tenure as head coach with Bill Cowher being brought in. He would remain for 15 seasons and left the team with another championship, as well as a strong roster that would prove to be good for another title within two years of his successor’s run.
Having long been an analyst for CBS Sports, but always asked to comment on Steelers-related topics for obvious reasons, he also addressed the topic of Pittsburgh and entering rebuild mode. “I hate to use the word ‘rebuild’ because there is a winning culture there”, he said, via Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, noting the abundance of talent on the roster.
“A lot of decisions have to be made, certainly, with the offensive line retooling there, but there is a winning culture”, he added. “Stability with coaches and front office. Those things matter. You may have a year where it doesn’t end the way you want. But I don’t think it is a total rebuild at all”.
The focus of the conversation, as is almost always the case for any team talking about a rebuild, is the quarterback position, and in the Steelers’ case, whether or not Roethlisberger has enough left in the tank to compete for a championship.