Every successful NFL season in the Steel City typically has some type of moniker attached to it.
The 1970s teams were anchored by the ‘Steel Curtain’.
The 1995 teams were dubbed ‘Blitzburgh’.
The 2005 team were the ‘Road Warriors’.
The 2009 team was the ‘5-Star Matchup’ group.
So, what would the 2017 Steelers be?
Perhaps the ‘Melodramatic Bunch’?
When you think about this season, it is amazing this team is 11-3, and that has absolutely nothing to do with personnel or injuries. Instead, the team’s ability to push their way through the “noise” and stay focused on the task at hand.
I was asked to write an article about what I would change about the 2017 Steelers season, and it was easy — less drama, please.
Just take a look at the drama this team has found themselves embroiled in since Day 1.
- Le’Veon Bell chooses to sit out all of training camp and preseason after the team failed to give him a long-term contract.
- The National Anthem controversy hits the Steelers in Week 3 in a ridiculous loss to the Bears.
- Steelers beat the Ravens in M&T Banks Stadium for the first time since Charlie Batch did it, and everyone talks about Antonio Brown throwing a Gatorade jug because he was open and the ball wasn’t thrown his way.
- Ben Roethlisberger throws 5 interceptions in a loss vs. the Jaguars, and suggest to the media he “may not have it anymore”.
- Le’Veon Bell questions the game plan, suggesting the team should have run the ball more.
- Martavis Bryant trumps them all with rumors of him requesting a trade, and he wants out of Pittsburgh.
- If that weren’t enough, he proceeds to throw teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster under the bus with comments made on social media about his lack of playing time.
- Bryant is suspended for the Detroit Lions game, coming off a bye week.
- Ryan Shazier is lost for the season with dangerous back injury vs. the Bengals.
- In the same game, JuJu Smith-Schuster is suspended one-game for blocking Vontaze Burfict too hard.
- The craziness which ensued in Week 15 vs. the Patriots from the overturned Jesse James touchdown, to the final plays which ended in a Steelers loss.
Look at that list, and I’m sure I forgot one of the drama filled moments this season! It has almost enough drama for most teams throughout three seasons, but this is just 2017 for the Steelers, with two games, and the postseason, remaining.
While I would love to change the amount of drama this team has experienced both on and off the field, it has done a tremendous job proving the mental toughness of this football team. Kudos to Mike Tomlin and company for keeping the team focused on the task at hand, especially when the outside distractions would have ripped apart an average team.
But I guess this Steelers team isn’t average, they are actually quite spectacular in this regard. While the loss to the Patriots in Week 15 might not be considered as dramatic as Bryant’s antics, the team will have to re-focus and prepare themselves for their final two games. Win those, and you guarantee yourself a first round bye. The mettle of this team continues to be tested, but this season has certainly proven they are up to the test.
While more tests lie ahead, the hope is the drama stays away as the team presses on to Super Bowl 52.