The Pittsburgh Steelers were fortunate to make the postseason this year, particularly in the final week of the season, in which they needed the results of two other games to break their way—one of which was highly unlikely to happen, but which proved to be the easier coming—in addition to winning their own game.
But they are in the postseason, preparing to play the Kansas City Chiefs tomorrow, and that also means that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s career is living on borrowed time right now. He entered Sunday’s game knowing it could be the last of his career. Now that will remain true for this Sunday’s game—and potentially three more weekends to come.
That’s what longtime teammate Cameron Heyward is hoping. He has been telling Roethlisberger every week to take it one game at a time, and that they’ll see what happens and how far along they can take this thing. He spoke to Rich Eisen yesterday about that.
“We all understand the magnitude of the single-game elimination. Not only will it end our season, but it could be the end of one of the greatest Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks of our generation”, he said. “We’ve been lucky enough to call him a teammate, and I don’t think we’re ready to let that party end. What better way to have a retirement party than riding this thing out to the Super Bowl?”.
Of course, the odds of the Steelers reaching the Super Bowl are rather low. They would not only have the beat the Chiefs next week, they would then have to play the Tennessee Titans next week, who figure to have running back Derrick Henry back by then. Should they get past those two, they would then have to play one of the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots, or the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat them twice this season.
In fact, the Steelers are 0-3 in their last three postseason games, and have not won one since 2016. They have lost in the Wild Card Round in their last two postseasons, most recently in 2020, allowing the Cleveland Browns to record their first postseason win since 1994.
And the Chiefs have been a stupendously good home playoff team with Patrick Mahomes. He has thrown 15 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in six games at Arrowhead Stadium, with a 5-1 record, the only loss an excruciating overtime defeat to the New England Patriots in 2019 in which their opponents scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the extra period. And he’s only ever lost to Tom Brady.