The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is a fickle bunch. While there are some realistic fans in the group, the majority of the fan base have a ‘Championship or Bust’ mentality. There is nothing wrong with this thought process, after all, the team has won six Super Bowls and is now tied with the New England Patriots atop the Super Bowl list.
Feeling the heat a bit from another NFL franchise for the first time in a long time, it makes sense the Steelers’ fan base might be a bit more pessimistic than most. Again, the team is coming off a one-and-done playoff departure in 2017, and missing the playoffs altogether in 2018.
The fans were frustrated, and rightfully so. But how frustrated? Take a look at the SB Nation Fan Pulse survey results below. At the end of the 2018 season less than 25% of the fan base was confident in the team’s direction. That number jumped significantly in free agency and the signings of Steven Nelson, Mark Barron and Donte Moncrief, but even after trading up to select Devin Bush in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft didn’t move the needle too much. Still, less than 75% of the fans were happy with the direction of the team.
But how do these compare to the rest of the AFC North?
As I’m sure this comes as a shock to no one, the Cleveland Browns are more than happy to win the offseason. At the end of the season nearly 100% of the fan base was confident in the direction of the team. And somehow that number continued to go up after trading for Odell Bekham Jr. and throughout the draft.
In Baltimore, things were a little different than Cleveland. At the end of the season fans were all about Lamar Jackson and the direction of the team — then free agency hit. Gone is C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco (via trade) and Eric Weddle. While they did sign Earl Thomas, the confidence slipped, but started to gain momentum after the draft. More than 75% of the Ravens fans like the direction of the team.
Then there are the Bengals. After a horrible, and injury plagued, 2018 season, their confidence level mirrored that of the Steelers, but they still had more confidence than Pittsburgh’s fans. Little by little, the Bengals fans are starting to believe again. Gone is Marvin Lewis, gone is Vontaze Burfict and the new coach seems to have this team headed in a direction the fans can get behind.
When I see these charts, the one thing I can’t get out of my mind is how pessimistic Steelers fans can be. After being the editor of this establishment for 4 seasons, I realize there are fans, many who comment regularly here, who would complain about a Steelers Super Bowl win.
They would say something to the effect of...
“Yeah, they won the Super Bowl, but the secondary got shredded...AGAIN!”
“Sure, they won, but they threw the ball 55 times and only ran it 15 times! Fire Fichtner!”
“The Steelers won, but should have blown this team out...typical Tomlin. Fire Tomlin!”
But at what point does optimism start to sink in? What will the Steelers need to do to regain the confidence of the fan base? Obviously winning helps, but what will it take? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!