The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.
They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.
There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.
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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Which Steelers player are you most thankful for this year?
Since it’s Thanksgiving in America, and we are discussing an American sport, I thought today we might redirect our typical focus—everything that’s wrong with the Pittsburgh Steelers—and instead concentrate on reasons to be thankful to be a fan of the team.
This year, I want to focus specifically on the players, and I’ll leave the question open-ended as to what it means to be thankful. Is it on-field excellence? Is it dread for what the alternative would be if his backup were playing? Is it an all-encompassing appreciation for how he represents his team?
I’m going to guess that the three most popular answers—or at least three of the top five—are defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, who is their senior defender, T.J. Watt, their blue-chip star at the premium position of pass-rusher, and Najee Harris, the first-round running back who has pretty much returned a semblance of a running game to the Steelers’ offense, even if it’s not all the way back, yet.
Do you share the feeling that one of these three players is the one to be most thankful for? Do you have another player that you’d like to highlight? This might not be his shining moment, but I think we can imagine the team would be worse off this season, for example, if it were not for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Unfortunately, I don’t think any of our beloved offensive linemen are going to get a vote this year. Perhaps next year will be a different story, and I’m sure we would all be thankful for that.