The Steelers have rebounded from a seemingly disastrous 1-4 start and are currently sitting as the No. 6 seed in the AFC. But now they are down to an undrafted rookie free agent at quarterback and are facing the resurgence Cleveland Browns who embarrass them 17 days ago. The road to the playoffs is riddled with competition with weak schedules, but the Steelers need to keep winning to maintain their spot. Some believe the ultimate goal is to merely make the playoffs, what others feel that should that happen…You go for the gold.
The Steeler Hangover’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis, have differing viewpoints on this particular subject. Read them as they slug it out in text below.
Just qualifying for the playoffs would be a great thing for the Steelers in 2019...
Tony Defeo’s Point
For the first time in many, many years, I don’t have any real expectations when I watch the Pittsburgh Steelers. I feel at peace, at ease, as if it’s not life or death if they win or lose the next game.
Don’t get me wrong, I still want the Steelers to win. It’s just that, well, they’re just so compromised on offense in 2019, it’s hard to really put much pressure on myself to “help” them achieve victory by throwing all of my emotions into each and every game.
Unlike year’s past, I don’t find myself engaging in my usual acts of superstition where, during a really close game late in the fourth quarter, I’ll change the channel to C-Span (“Oh no, politics! I watch football to escape!” Look, I’ll superstition the way I want. You superstition the way you want) and then pace back and forth until I either get a bunch of text messages from my brother/cousins or I scroll through my Twitter feed to see what that Dane guy is saying.
When quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the rest of 2019 with an elbow injury he suffered in Week 2, everything just changed for me. When that news broke, I didn’t think the Steelers would win more than a few games, let alone enough to qualify for January football. Yet, they somehow managed to bounce back from a 1-4 start to win four of their next five games and are now in prime position to make a playoff run with just five weeks to go in the regular season.
If the Steelers do make it to the playoffs, I will be so proud of them. Anything achieved after that, to me, would be the proverbial gravy.
I know what you’re going to say, “The standard is the blah, blah, blah.” I get it, but it’s hard to take those lofty Super Bowl standards seriously when guys named Devlin Hodges, Deon Cain, Kerrith Whyte Jr. and even Zach Banner are now being called upon to contribute to the Steelers offense on a regular basis.
When you have names like that putting their hands in Mike Tomlin’s pile, it’s hard to envision a seventh Lombardi. It’s hard to even get angry when they screw up.
I’m just happy they’re 6-5 and have a chance to nab one of the two wildcard berths. In fact, if someone would come to me today and offer me the sixth seed, I would accept it on the Steelers’ behalf. And if they go to, say, Arrowhead Stadium and get their doors blown off by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in a 3 vs. 6 showdown, I would still consider 2019 to be a successful season.
You may feel differently. You may think that simply making the playoffs isn’t worth it if one and done is the likely outcome. “What’s the point of going if they’re just going to lose?” I didn’t know you could see into the future, Mr./Mrs. Social Media Person.
Just simply making the playoffs is a good thing, and that would especially be the case this year with everything this Steelers team has had to battle through.
It’s so liberating to feel the way that I do. In previous years, when guys like Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Roethlisberger were around to give me heightened expectations, I felt like one of those crazed helicopter parents that wanted his kids to succeed at all costs, “Come on, Son, you can get accepted into any playoff round if you just apply yourself.”
But this season, it feels like the kids have moved out, and I’m now a grandparent. You know what it’s like to be a grandparent (I don’t, personally, but I’ve watched the Hallmark Channel many times). Grandparents are usually like, “Kids will be kids, and sometimes, they screw up. You have to let them find their own way.”
When you’re a grandparent, you find yourself taking pride in the little things, “Awww, little Devlin spoke his first words yesterday. He said, ‘I’m surrounded by a great group of guys who believe in me.’ That’s so cute. He’s like a little adult quarterback now.”
Finally, if these Steelers, these totally compromised on offense Steelers, simply make the playoffs, the mayor should throw them a parade in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Bryan Anthony Davis’ Counterpoint
Congratulations Tony, you finally won one of these last week. But I’m starting to think that you may be loitering in One-Hit Wonderville like Michael Sambellllo or Johnny Hates Jazz. I was marveling at what a brilliant first couple of sentences you had delivered in our weekly faceoff and then you went ahead and ruined it with the C-Span reference. It was much akin to Myles Garrett having a fantastic defensive game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11, only to go all prison riot when he whacked the opposing quarterback over the head with his own helmet. You may have heard a little something about that. I have no problem with you watching political television. In fact, I think it’s quite admirable. But I was shocked and chagrined to hear that you do that during tight Steeler games. Don’t admit to stuff like that. That’s like saying that you wear your girlfriends panties to Heinz Field for good luck.
Look, I get the notion that just getting to the playoffs this season would be a monumental accomplishment with the horrendous luck that they’ve had in 2019, especially on the offensive side of the football. Yes, Ben Roethlisberger was replaced in Week 2 by Mason Rudolph and now Devlin Hodges fills that giant void. But Offensive Coordinator Randy Fichtner has struggled in the play calling without his veteran quarterback. Rosie Nix is out too and hasn’t been replaced by anybody. Now, James Conner and JuJu Smith Schuster are out of action yet again. Guys like Jaylen Samuels, Bennie Snell Jr., Kerrith White, Johnny Holton, Tevin Jones and Deon Cain are hell bent on filling those gaping holes. So, sure, a playoff entry would be a major accomplishment.
But we forget that the defense is incredible this season and helping this team win games. So, that erases some of the sad sack factor.
I’m still not sure how realistic it is. But I believe in magic. I watched the same type of thing go down in 1989. That’s when the Steelers started out losing the first two games by the scores of 51-0 and 42-10. They finished the season 9-7 and nearly reached the AFC championship game with Bubby Brister, Derek Hill, Tim Worley and Merril Hoge leading the way on offense and a fairly anonymous defense (back then).
Back in 2013, the Steelers started out 0-4. They were in position to make the playoffs hadn’t it been for the Chiefs resting most of their personnel and Ryan Succop missing a field goal as time expired. Many experts felt that had the Steelers made the playoffs that year, that they could have been the most dangerous team at the dance.
Earlier this season, the playoffs seemed way out of reach. The hope was to win enough games to not be wondering what might have been hadn’t they traded a first rounder and then some for Minkah Fitzpatrick. Lowering that pick for the Dolphins seemed the only way to silence detractors. I still go on record saying that that was an amazing trade. The later the Dolphins select in that spot, the more the Steelers win that deal.
But here’s what happens when young players find their footing and continue to believe in themselves. They start to want more. Athletes and true competitors don’t tank and wait for next year. They believe with every fiber of their being that they can win. So they are going to go until the road ends on them. Not because they are told that they’ve accomplished enough and to go home.
Now I’m not delusional enough to think that my team has the makings of a Super Bowl winner, but I really didn’t think the Washington Nationals would have ever won the World Series this year. Fight until the final buzzer. It’s just like Rocky. All he wanted to be was not just another bum in the neighborhood and he was fine with the loss to Apollo Creed. Then he caught the fever and realized (after much convincing) that he could be champ. The rest is cinematic history.
There’s not one individual on that Pittsburgh Steelers team that thinks that they don’t have the makings for greatness. Therefore, There’s not one individual on that Pittsburgh team that would be satisfied with just making the playoffs. Therefore, I don’t think we should be either if they shock the football world and actually make it.
So...what are your thoughts? Which one of us gets to bask in the glory of being right this week? State your case in the comments section and be sure to vote in the poll. BAD dropped to 8-1 on the season, while TonDef is doing his basking in the glory of his first victory. Can Tony keep the streak going? Vote and state your case in the comments.
Do you agree more with Tony Defeo or Bryan Anthony Davis on whether or not the Steelers should be happy with just making the playoffs, should it occur?
This poll is closed
TonDef is right.
BAD is more on-point