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Steelers Think Tank: Is offensive balance even realistic in today’s NFL?

Offensively many people want the Steelers to be balanced, but is that even possible in today’s NFL?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the BTSC Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Think Tank’. Here is where there will be a general question asked, and the answer will be hashed out in the comment section below the article. Unlike in the Friday Night Six Pack, and other articles which are banking on fan responses, this is just one topic to discuss.

In this second edition of the Think Tank, I ask you about offensive balance.

When I started to do the BTSC flagship podcast, the “Standard is the Standard” with Lance Williams (you can hear our latest podcast in the player below this article), I always spoke about offensive balance. I hated pass-heavy plans, but also hated run-heavy game plans. Rather, I always prefer a more balanced approach when talking about the difference between the run and pass.

As the years have progressed, the numbers for balance have definitely changed. At one time the balance numbers were a 50:50 ratio between the run and pass, but now myself, and others, would be content with a 60:40 pass-to-run ratio.

As the numbers continue to become skewed more towards the passing attack, and rightfully so considering the current rules, it makes me wonder if any type of balance is even possible in the modern day NFL. Or do we just have to adjust our view of balance?

I realize the days of Jerome Bettis getting the ball 35 times in a game are likely long gone, but are 25 rushing attempts too much to ask? Last season the Steelers finished the season with 345 rushing attempts. Some simple math shows this ends up at roughly 21.5 attempts per game. Compare this to the 689 passing attempts, which ends up at 43 attempts a game over a 16 game season.

When you have a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger, and weapons like the Steelers have deployed the past few seasons, it makes sense to air the ball out, but being able to keep a defense guessing is also a very important aspect of offensive success. With that said, it makes you wonder if true run-to-pass ratio balance is even a possibility?

What do you think? Is it still a possibility? Should the Steelers strive for this without Antonio Brown on the roster? Join the Steelers Think Tank by joining the discussion in the comment section below!