The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, nearing the end of the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the year. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Will this be the last game of the Steelers’ 2022 season?
There’s a game today. We know that. What we don’t know is if this will be the last game for the Steelers until the preseason kicks off in August. They can win and still not have another game to play. They will need help from the Bills and Jets to make it to the postseason.
What they have in their control is the result of their own game. They need to beat the Browns, and by doing so they would secure a winning season, by record, but head coach Mike Tomlin would still deem it a failure if it doesn’t extend the season.
The Steelers have made the postseason the past two years after missing it two years in a row and are looking to make it three. They only finished the 2021 season with a 9-7-1 record and needed help in the final week to get into the playoffs. The best they can do this year is 9-8, and once again they will, at best, be watching and waiting after their game ends to see what their fate will be. If it’s already been decided by then, then the answer will be that their season is over.
It’s been quite an interesting year, the first season in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era. They opened the first half of the season going 2-6, including a 1-6 record without reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, and amid a quarterback change, with Mitch Trubisky starting the first four games, rookie Kenny Pickett the next four.
The bye week seemed to come at an ideal time, not just because Watt returned. Both the offense and defense appeared revitalized, and they’ve run off a 6-2 record since then, actually looking formidable on occasion—if only they can find the end zone with a bit more regularity.
But we can save the season recaps for once the season is over. For at least another few hours, the Steelers’ 2022 season is still alive.