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Will the Steelers organization learn from their latest playoff dud?

The Pittsburgh Steelers were embarrassed, again, in the postseason. Will they learn, for once?

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Losing sucks.

There is no better way to put it, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced losing at the worst possible times too often the last few seasons. The playoff defeat to the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs wasn’t just the latest playoff loss, it was a disturbing trend within the organization.

Everyone says you can learn from losing, but at what point will the lessons sink in for the Steelers?

Here is what Minkah Fitzpatrick said in a recent media availability about this topic:

“Me personally, I try not to get too emotional about it, or too low about it, because it is part of the game.” Fitzpatrick said. “A loss like that is very hard to deal with. You hang low for a little bit, but you still have to learn from it.”

As for head coach Mike Tomlin, here were some of his opening remarks for his end of season press conference Wednesday regarding the latest playoff loss.

“In regards to football, still experiencing the disappointment associated with our last performance. It’s just tough to swallow, it’s tough to accept. Coming to grips with that, assessing what transpired. Going through or starting the process of going through the normal things you do unfortunately at this time of year, I start first and foremost saying obviously I didn’t anticipate being here in this position. Disappointed by it.

“Understand that we better make some changes in terms of the things we do. We better look at every aspect of it. Schematics, personnel, approach to business. I am committed to that. I am also committed to not sitting in this position and feeling the way we feel right now moving forward. Those are just the general thoughts and feelings.”

It all sounds great. Many fans will read/hear these comments and nod their head in agreement, assuming these players and coaches will indeed learn from the defeat and adjust accordingly. Hopeful to not feel this again.

Yet here we are.

The Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since the 2016 season, and their last two playoff games, 2017 and 2020, were embarrassing defeats at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars led by Blake Bortles and a depleted Cleveland Browns team due to COVID-19. If those last two playoff failures, or their inability to make the postseason in 2018 and 2019, haven’t taught them anything, what will?

As the 2020 offseason is just days old, maybe the Steelers are finally committed to making the necessary changes to show they have learned from previous failures. Changes which can equate to on-field change in the immediate future.

Not renewing the contracts of offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley was a step in the right direction. But there are still a lot of pieces missing on this puzzle.

Will they have the ability to bring in the right offensive coordinator to lead this team in the future?

Will they have the guts to make another bold move before, or during, the 2021 NFL Draft to get a player who will impact their future for the next decade and more?

Will they be willing to cut ties with players not just for salary cap reasons, but due to not living up to their contract?

While Fichtner’s dismissal from the team was a positive, there are a lot of unknowns still lingering. How they handle those unknowns will tell me whether this team is committed to learning from previous mistakes, or if we are just part of the Standard is the Standard.

Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, the recent standard for the Steelers isn’t winning, but experiencing late season collapses.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they enter what could be the most tumultuous offseason in the Mike Tomlin era.