The Pittsburgh Steelers fan can be a fickle bunch. Every season is Super Bowl or bust for the fan base, and despite a huge Week 1 win over the Buffalo Bills, the three game skid which ensued had Steelers fans in a downward spiral.
However, the Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos combined with the Week 6 overtime win vs. the Seattle Seahawks had the fan base starting to believe again. Before you knew it, the Steelers had clawed their way back to .500, and moved the team’s record to 3-3 on the season. On top of that, it gave the fans a taste of victory which had avoided them for almost an entire month. Coming off the bye week, the Steelers went on the road and beat the Cleveland Browns in Week 8, and now fans are really believing again.
Nonetheless, the come from behind Week 9 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday night football has fans questioning the team again. To make matters worse, a 16-16 tie vs. the Detroit Lions in Week 10 has the fans downright disgusted in the team, and its direction. How did the team follow up the tie? With a prime time loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but somehow, someway the fan base’s confidence is actually on the rise after the loss.
The Steelers fan confidence in their favorite team was on the uptick, and likely due to the crazy finish in Week 11 which saw the Steelers score 27 points in the 4th quarter. But, for those who don’t like the direction the team is headed, following the Bengals slapping the Steelers around to the tune of a 41-10 loss, the confidence is on a sharp downturn. In typical Steelers fashion, the team followed up the horrible loss to the Bengals with a rousing victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13.
What has been the lone consistent aspect of the 2021 season has been how inconsistent the Steelers have been. How did they follow up that 20-19 win over the Ravens? With a 36-28 smackdown to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. Keeping the theme of inconsistency alive and well, the Steelers have yet another come from behind win, this time over the Tennessee Titans, to the tune of a 19-13 Week 15 win. To remain consistently inconsistent, the Steelers were embarrassed by the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16 to the tune of a 36-10 defeat.
Right on cue, the Steelers bounced back in Week 17 with a Monday Night Football win over the Cleveland Browns in Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game of his career. The team was able to not just muster one more win, but to punch their ticket to the AFC Playoffs by beating the Baltimore Ravens on the road in Week 18.
How were the fans feeling about the team moving forward? Well, you can probably guess the roller coaster ride the fans have been on since the season began.
Here at SB Nation we poll fans every week in our SB Nation “Reacts” polls, and one of the questions asked is whether you have confidence in your team moving forward. As you can see, the confidence of the fan base shockingly trending down after Week 18.
If you want to know just how the fan confidence has changed, you can see the percentages below:
Post NFL Draft: 75%
Week 1: 89%
Week 2: 79%
Week 3: 38%
Week 4: 13%
Week 5: 18%
Week 6: 36%
Week 7: 54%
Week 8: 57%
Week 9: 71%
Week 10: 65%
Week 11: 28%
Week 12: 43%
Week 13: 20%
Week 14: 56%
Week 15: 31%
Week 16: 47%
Week 17: 33%
Week 18: 42%
Wild Card: 40%
The Steelers’ season has been nothing but a roller coaster ride since Week 1, but the fact they found a way to finish 9-7-1 and make the playoffs makes this playoff run feel like nothing but a cherry on top for the season. Throw in the fact Ben Roethlisberger was able to cap off his final regular season with wins against the Browns and Ravens, this playoff game should be as stress-free as it comes for the veteran quarterback.
Will the Steelers rise up and pull off an incredible upset over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium? Only time will tell, but the fan confidence certainly hangs in the balance.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Baltimore Ravens in the regular season finale at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.