Anyone who has spent any time listening to the “experts” this offseason will be well aware of the national media narrative predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers demise. A sentiment echoed by the bookmakers this offseason when they made them second favorites to win the division behind the Cleveland Browns and longer odds to win the Super Bowl than teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears.
But while many of his colleagues in the press have been more than willing to dump on the Steelers as of late, it would appear that former Pittsburgh cornerback turned CBS Sports analyst Bryant McFadden still has faith in the Black and Gold. Asked for his opinion about the Steelers chances against a win total of nine set by the sportsbooks, McFadden left no doubt which side of the line viewers should be betting.
“This is easy for me Hakem, it’s over. Here’s why. Pittsburgh still, they have the best quarterback in the division. They still have the best coach in the division. And when you look at the statistics from a year ago, they have the best running back in the division with a much improved defense led by T.J. Watt who had a breakout year – 13 sacks, 6 forced fumbles. This defense will be much better. They were tied for first in total sacks with 52. Add in Devin Bush. Print the t-shirts, he will be Defensive Rookie of the Year by the way, so go ahead and print your t-shirts now.
“Yes, take the over. Looking at the schedule, they have what, three long west coast trips out west to Arizona, to L.A. and to San Francisco? As long as they’re not playing Oakland in Oakland, book the Pittsburgh Steelers. If you want to add a little more sauce to your fire, go ahead and put something on them Superbowl odds. What? + 2500 and division +180? Book it, print the t-shirts. Over.”
Wearing the Terrible Towel on his shoulder was a nice touch by Bryant as an extra sign of his allegiance to his former team, and while many will claim his remarks are born out of bias, it is nice to hear a former player say something positive about the Steelers for once.
Despite generally considering myself something of a glass half empty kind of fan who often sides with the more pessimistic projections for Pittsburgh, I struggle to find fault with McFadden’s predictions. Devin Bush winning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors does not actually seem that outlandish either given the amount of playing time he is likely to see in the early going. I might stop short of backing them to win the Super Bowl, but ever increasing odds to win the division and a low season wins total are becoming almost too tempting to ignore.