In every profession, there are situations, clients or specific aspects of the job that you do better with than others. Recently, BTSC listed the NFL teams that the Steelers have done well against throughout their 86 year history of playing football games. This time around, we focus on the teams that have given a heartburn to Steeler Nation much like that netted from Polish sausage and pierogi weekend bender. Here are the teams that make necessary the Tums.
Chicago Bears (7-19-1 .278)
The Steelers just can’t beat the Bears much at all, especially in the Windy City where the Steelers only have won once in 1995. When the series started in 1934, the Steelers lost the first ten contests. But even since then, it still isn’t even. Mike Tomlin is 0-3 (including the infamous anthem game in 2017) against Da Bears during his sideline time with the Steelers.
Denver Broncos (11-20-1 .359)
The AFC team that the Steelers really have struggled against in their history is the Denver Broncos. In 1970, Pittsburgh went 0-3-1 against the Mile Highers and have never really caught up. The Steelers have also only won three of eight playoff games against Denver, but the two teams split their AFC Championship series...a Denver road win after 1997 and a Black and Gold victory in the rarified air to go to Super Bowl XL. Recent Bronco activity has been tough on Steeler Nation as well. Mike Tomlin has a 2-5 record against the blue and orange and the Steelers have only won six of twenty since 1985. The two teams are officially scheduled to play again in 2021 unless division standing is identical.
Philadelphia Eagles (28-48-3 .373)
The Eagles inclusion on the Steelers schedule has clipped theIr wings throughout time. It wasn’t always that way though, as the Steelers took six of seven from their in-state rivals from 1934-1937. But then things got real bad and the Eagles have dominated throughout the history of the two PA teams. Since the last time the western team won out east in 1965, the Steelers have gone 5-13 against Phily. Mike Tomlin is 1-2 against the green clad devils and the teams will reunite in 2020 at Heinz Field.
Los Angeles Rams (9-15-2 .385)
Whether in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Anaheim...the Steelers weren’t good for a long time against Ram teams. From 1938-1978, the Steelers were 1-12-2 against the Rams and that doesn’t include losing the Super Bowl to a ghost that looked like Warren Beatty in 1979’s Heaven Can Wait. The first win to snap the carnage came in the real Super Bowl (XIV in Pasadena) following the 1979 season. Since then, the Steelers are 8-3 against the LA and St. Louis Rams and have won three straight, all in the Tomlin era. The teams will face off in Week 9 in Pittsburgh.
New York Giants (30-44-3 .409)
The Giants are another team that owned the Steelers early and often. Pittsburgh was 2-14-1 against the New York Football Giants from 1933-1941. In recent times, the Steelers own a 6-4 record (2-1 in Tomlin era) since against the other storied franchise family that can claim Kate and Rooney Mara.
Washington Redskins (33-42-3 .442)
Against the Redskins, the Steelers are 33-42-3 since 1933. But in recent times, Steeler Nation enjoys seeing Washington on their schedule. They have won six-straight dating back to 1997 and are 8-3 since 1973. However, the series started off with the Steelers going 4-19 against the Redskins from 1933-1945. The two teams will battle again in 2020 in Pittsburgh.
New Orleans Saints (7-9 .438)
After losing the Week 16 contest that not only all-but knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs last season, it thwarted their chances to (not as importantly) even the all-time series between the two. It also became apparent that the Saints had the Steelers number. The series began in 1967 with a Pittsburgh win and has followed a pattern of sorts since then. New Orleans won three in a row, then Pittsburgh concurred. The pattern continued with two for each and then one. Now with the Saints winning three straight, the stage is set for a three game Steeler streak. 0-3 in the Mike Tomlin era, the last win against the team from the Crescent City was in 2006. The Steelers won’t see the Saints again until 2022 at Heinz Field.
Oakland Raiders (13-16 .448)
The Raiders and Steelers had an angry and storied rivalry in the 1970s, one of the best in NFL history. In that decade, the two teams played five playoff games with Pittsburgh going 3-2 and 2-1 in the AFC Championship. Now that Antonio Brown is a Raider, dormant hatred for the “Silver and Black” has somewhat resurfaced. As bad as the Raiders have been lately against everybody else, the Steelers have had a rough time of it in recent times going 2-5 against Oakland since 2006 and 2-4 since Coach T took over (Yeah, the “unleash Hell” game was against those guys). These two may not play again until 2021 possibly at Heinz.
Green Bay Packers (16-19 .457)
Much like the other NFC teams that were around near the very beginning, the Steelers couldn’t solve Green Bay either by losing the first nine games. But since 1947, the Steelers have had the upper hand by going 16-10 and winning nine of twelve since 1975. One of those three loses was a big one in SB XLV.
Jacksonville Jaguars (12-14 .462)
Thrust into an AFC Central rivalry with a loss in 1995, the Steelers and Jags have swapped big blows for almost 25 years. The Steelers won a thriller in 2018, but Jacksonville has devestatingly knocked Mike Tomlin’s team out of the playoffs twice (2007, 2017). Tomlin is 4-3 against the Northern Florida team and despite no longer being in the same division...the rivalry is real and will recommence in 2020.
Dallas Cowboys (15-17 .469)
Just like against the Saints last year, the Steelers lost an absolute heartbreaker to Dallas in 2016 that would have evened the series between teams with a rich Super Bowl history and out-of-conference rivalry. In the series that included Steelers wins in SB X and XIII and a loss in SB XXX, there have been stretches of dominance by both teams. Mike Tomlin is 1-2 in his history against “America’s Team” (a title the Rooney Family rejected) and the Steelers are only 2-6 against them since 1991. The two teams will face off again in 2020 in Dallas.
San Francisco 49ers (9-10 .476)
The Steelers and 49ers have gone back and forth in this series that started in 1951. The Steelers were the only team that beat Joe Montana in SF’s near-historic 1984 season and a Steeler loss in the AFC Championship that year prevented the two from playin* in SB XIX. Mike Tomlin, 2-1 against the Niners, has a chance in Week 3 to even this series. However, they haven’t won near the Golden Gate since 1999.
New England Patriots (16-16 .500)
Finally winning a game in this series in Week 15 of 2018, the Steelers halted an ugly five-game streak to the Patriots...the biggest thorn in the Steelers’ side in nearly the last 20 years. The “Black and Gold” have dropped 11 of 15 to New England in the Belichick/Brady era and Mike Tomlin is 3-7 against this franchise. It wasn’t always like that though. Pittsburgh was dominant against NE early on, winning 12 of the first 16 in this series. The Steelers get a chance to win two straight and regain the series lead Week 1 on SNF.
While some of these teams listed aren’t true tormentors of the Steelers now like they were in the early days of the NFL, teams like the Bears, Eagles, Pats and Broncos are the true Goliaths to the Steelers’ Davids. But streaks happen and fortunes could change. Just be aware of history the next time you see these teams listed on the game slates.