Steelers No. 1 in the NFL in Continuity?


Scott Halleran/Getty Images Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with QB Ben Roethlisberger.

This weekend Sheil Kapadia published an article in The Athletic ranking the continuity level of all 32 NFL teams. As Kapadia notes, continuity isn’t always a good thing, but thanks to the pandemic it’s likely to be a big asset in 2020.

“Teams are dealing with shortened offseasons, unique circumstances in training camp and no preseason,” offers the author. “It’s reasonable to think that teams with a certain degree of continuity—whether it’s with schemes, personnel or coaches—will have an edge over teams that are attempting to implement a plethora of changes.”

Kapadia goes on to try to evaluate each team’s level of continuity by assessing whether they return their head coach, offensive play-caller and defensive play-caller, and also whether they return their starting quarterback. Last but not least, The Athletic attempted to determine the “percentage of returning snaps” by looking at which players are expected to return this season.

Steelers Ranked No. 22 in Continuity

Taking all of this into consideration, the Pittsburgh Steelers are ranked No. 22 in the NFL in continuity. However that ranking comes with a big caveat, as they are considered to have a brand-new quarterback, with Ben Roethlisberger having missed almost all of 2019, giving way to Mason Rudolph and Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges.

“If you wanted to give the Steelers credit for Roethlisberger,” notes Kapadia, “they would actually rank first on this list.”

It’s not unreasonable to give the Steelers “credit” for Big Ben, as he’s made 216 starts for the team—the starting quarterback for all of the Mike Tomlin era.

Moreover, “Pittsburgh returns nine of 11 defensive players who logged at least 600 snaps last season. Overall, the Steelers return 83.8 percent of their defensive snaps, which is tied for second,” advises The Athletic.

Continuity in the AFC North

If you’re wondering about the continuity level in the rest of the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens rank highly, tied for fifth in the NFL. But both the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns are in the midst of significant change, ranked 27 and 29 in the league, respectively, with the Bengals adding Joe Burrow—the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft—at quarterback, and the Browns changing their head coach yet again, now set to try Kevin Stefanski. The Browns also have two new coordinators in Alex Van Pelt on offense and Joe Woods on defense.

The team with the most continuity in the league according to The Athletic is the Kansas City Chiefs—the defending Super Bowl champions. The team with the most change? That would be the Carolina Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s opponent in its regular season opener is the New York Giants, who are No. 30 on the list. That game is now less than a month away, scheduled for Monday September 14 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

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