The Pittsburgh Steelers are understandably getting smacked around right now on the 24-hour sports networks, an honor earned through their getting smacked around on their own field for the second week in a row by a team they should have been able to beat. Former Steeler Ryan Clark on ESPN had perhaps the most damning take, speaking on the Get Up program, which I will share in full.
It’s the end of an era. It’s an end of an era of dominance. It’s an end of an era of actually having a Super Bowl window. And it’s the end of an era of two decades of having the same quarterback.
This is a total organizational failure. I remember I took a lot of heat when the Pittsburgh Steelers trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick, which has worked out from the free safety position. But I said that they needed that pick because they needed to figure out a way to have a succession plan for Ben Roethlisberger.
And they didn’t. And they still don’t. The best teams are able to move right into the next quarterback. The best teams that can keep competing can do that. The Pittsburgh Steelers cannot. Not only do they not have a quarterback, but they also can’t protect the quarterback. They also can’t scheme for a quarterback.
And when you have all of these things and you thought you were going to have an elite defense that can only be elite if it has their guys, then there’s no hope. What you have to figure out is, they’ve always been able to say, ‘Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season’. I don’t know if that changes this year, but if it does, now you have to look at the Pittsburgh Steelers and say, are they better than the Cincinnati Bengals? Not the Ravens. Not the Browns. The Bengals.
Frankly, many fans have felt that the era was over years ago. And he vastly conflates the ease with which an organization can seamlessly transition from one franchise quarterback to the next, which has been tried countless times with successes that you can probably count on one hand.
But it’s hard to argue against the general tone of his comments. I still don’t agree about the Fitzpatrick trade—they were not going to land a starting quarterback with that first-round pick, nor parlay it into one through some package—but they’re obviously in a bad place organizationally.
Put simply, if their starting quarterback for the 2021 season is currently on the 53-man roster, then they don’t have much of a shot at winning the division, let alone the Super Bowl. They showed in 2019 that if the defense plays well enough, they can still win games with below-the-line quarterback play, but it’s time to win some playoff games, and who is confident they have a quarterback on the roster who can?
Former Steeler @Realrclark25 is upset by what he’s seeing in Pittsburgh.
“It’s an end of an era of actually having a Super Bowl window. … This is a total organizational failure!” pic.twitter.com/TOAgORM3Qe
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) September 27, 2021