The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot to be fired up about. Their January 9 regular-season finale win in Baltimore keeps their playoff hopes alive.
Thanks to an improbable win by the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers could be playoff-bound. The Jags entered the game the worst team in the NFL at 2-14 and knocked the Indianapolis Colts out of playoff contention by a score of 26-11. Barring a Los Angeles Chargers tie with the Raiders in Las Vegas on Sunday Night Football, the Steelers will clinch a playoff spot.
Steelers safety-turned-linebacker Marcus Allen celebrated via Instagram Live after the game. Some teammates joined in and there was a surprise appearance from Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin typically maintains an all-business image in front of the cameras, so his 10 seconds of dancing on IG Live was fun to see.
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Lucky Last Seed
Should the Chargers-Raiders game not result in a tie, the Steelers will be awarded the No. 7 seed and enter the playoffs as the third wild-card team. Unfortunately, that means that Pittsburgh will travel to Kansas City to take on the No. 2 seed Chiefs next Sunday, January 16 at 8:15 ET.
It wasn’t pretty when these two teams faced each other recently. The Chiefs walloped the Steelers 36-10 back in Week 16. Since that loss, Pittsburgh has won two consecutive games but hasn’t shown much improvement offensively.
Per Pro Football Reference, the Steelers have made a playoff appearance 10 times since 2005. Only twice have they been the last seed (2015, 2005). Fans remember well the road the team traveled in 2005. When nobody thought they could, the Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round, the Colts in the divisional round, the Denver Broncos in the conference championship and, finally, the Seattle Seahawks to win the 2006 Super Bowl.
Fairytale Super Bowl
Going to and winning the Super Bowl in 2006 was something of a fairytale. Running back Jerome Bettis, who has since been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was playing in his final season. It just so happened that the Super Bowl was being played in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. All of the teams they had to defeat to win “one for the thumb” and give Bettis the sendoff of his career was truly something special.
With Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retiring after the 2021 season, going to the 2022 Super Bowl would be even more special. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh just isn’t built like it was 16 seasons ago. Roethlisberger was a young 23, and the team was convincingly defeating opponents with a supporting cast of Bettis, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Antwaan Randle El. Their defense was elite and stacked with guys like Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, James Harrison, Joey Porter, James Farrior … the list goes on and on.
Nope. It’s a different era now for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sixteen years ago, they were ascending. Now, they’re on the decline. It happens to every team at one point or another. It just so happens; it’s the Steelers’ turn.