The Pittsburgh Steelers have started their 2020 NFL season with a record of 6-0. It was a big matchup in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans between two unbeaten teams where only one could emerge with a sixth victory. It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Steelers did enough exit the stadium on top.
It is only the second time in franchise history the Steelers have won their first six games of the season. The only other season was the 1978 Steelers who began their season 7-0 and went on to win Super Bowl XIII over the Dallas Cowboys.
In NFL history, there have been 92 teams who have started their season 6-0. Since the 1970 NFL merger, there have been 59 teams start 6-0 with 56 of them making the playoffs. The only NFL teams to start 6-0 since the NFL-AFL merger and not make the playoffs are the 2009 Denver Broncos (8-8), 2003 Minnesota Vikings (9-7), and the 1978 Washington Redskins (8-8). If the NFL would have taken seven teams to the playoffs from each conference as they will in 2020, the only team who would not have qualified for the postseason was the 2009 Broncos who finished as the 9th seed in the AFC.
Since 1970, 29 of the 59 teams who started their season 6-0 made it to the Super Bowl which equates to 49.2% of teams. Out of those 29 teams, 14 of them went on to win the Super Bowl with six times having two teams meet in the game who had won their first six games of the season. The last time two teams met in the Super Bowl who both started the season 6-0 was in 2015 when the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers. The next most recent Super Bowl was in 2009 when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts. Other years in which two teams who started 6-0 met in the Super Bowl were in 2006, 2004, 1984, and 1977.
Should the Steelers push their record to 7-0 after their match up with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, the league history gets even more interesting. The 38 teams who have started the season winning their first seven games since the 1970 merger have made the playoffs 100% of the time.
While starting 6-0 does increase the likelihood of going to the postseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers need to keep in mind they still have 10 games remaining and anything can happen in the NFL. While history does paint an interesting picture, the Steelers should be more concerned about making their own history than what has happened in previous years in the NFL. Yes 6-0 is great, but the Steelers big matchup in Baltimore on Sunday is more about this team moving forward than it is about what they have done in 2020 thus far.