After Week One, the Pittsburgh Steelers probably didn’t feel like the league’s healthiest team, losing star pass rusher T.J. Watt to a torn pec four quarters into the season. But Watt avoided a worst-case scenario and returned after the bye and overall, the Steelers were a healthy bunch throughout the year.
So much so that according to Football Outsiders’ semi-wonky “Adjusted Games Lost” metric that considers not just games missed but those playing at less than 100%, the Steelers came out on top.
For 2022, the Steelers had an adjusted games lost of 32, easily the best mark in football. Courtesy of the site’s Aaron Schatz, here’s the NFL’s top five. The lower the number, the better.
Best Adjusted Games Lost, 2022
1. Pittsburgh Steelers – 32.0
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – 39.8
3. Philadelphia Eagles – 42.4
4. Kansas City Chiefs – 48.1
5. Minnesota Vikings – 50.1
The Steelers comfortably sit in first place, well ahead of the second-place Jaguars. Taking it a step further, the Steelers’ offense was the driving reason for this ranking with just a 3.2 AGL on that side of the ball. Pittsburgh’s great health started around their offensive line, the only team in the league to have the same five starters in all 17 games. Three of them played every single snap: LT Dan Moore Jr., LG Kevin Dotson, and RG James Daniels. RT Chukwuma Okorafor missed just one snap while center Mason Cole’s only extensive time missed was the second half of the rematch against the Bengals, though he played hurt throughout the year.
Defensively, the unit’s AGL was lower at 28.8, only 11th in the league. In addition to Watt, safety Damontae Kazee missed the first half of the year with a broken arm while DL Chris Wormley tore his ACL in Week 14. There were other speed bumps along the way like the team’s Week Six game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that saw the team missing several defensive starters, including 75% of their starting secondary.
According to Football Outsiders’, the Steelers have consistently been one of the league’s healthiest teams, ranking in the top ten of this metric in six of the last seven years. Still, Pittsburgh seemed extra fortunate this past season and can’t bank on that great health in 2023. They will have an offensive lineman go down and their depth will be tested, meaning it must be improved based on where it’s currently at.
The Denver Broncos finished last in AGL at an ugly 148.6. Around the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens were ranked last, 25th overall at 102.6. The team recently fired controversial head strength and conditoning coach Steve Saunders, who has drawn complaints from current and former players. The Cleveland Browns were 13th at 67.9 while the Cincinnati Bengals were 10th at 56.4.