The Pittsburgh Steelers had their fans feeling good this past offseason. The free agent moves made and the 2022 NFL Draft class had the black-and-gold faithful feeling good. Then you throw in the fact the team went 3-0 in the preseason, and you’d believe confidence was brimming with the fan base. But throughout the preseason, several issues popped up with the team in all facets. Nonetheless, the hope was they’d fix it while they won football games.
As you can imagine, Steelers fans weren’t brimming with confidence heading into their Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio. Nonetheless, the team found a way to upset the Bengals 23-20 in overtime and move their record to 1-0.
Such a crazy game, and victory, you’d think this would create a big bump in fan confidence, right?
Not so much.
What started next was a skid to forget. The Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots, one where the offense essentially failed to show up, caused the Steelers fan base to lose faith, and in a hurry. Following the Steelers Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football, confidence in the team remained low.
But, have no fear, hope was on the way! Everyone assumed it would come via a win over the Jets in Week 4, but that didn’t happen. However, hope, as it turns out, was found in the second half of the Steelers loss to the New York Jets. When Kenny Pickett entered the game as the starting quarterback it caused a rise in fan confidence throughout the fan base. Yes, even in a losing effort.
How long did the Pickett surge in confidence last? Well, after the 38-3 shellacking against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5...not very long. However, the roller coaster ride which is Steelers fan confidence continued after the team upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6 at Acrisure Stadium.
What has been the going trend with the team’s up-and-down season, the Steelers followed up the win at home with a dude against the Miami Dolphins in prime time in Week 7. While the team’s loss in Week 8 to the Philadelphia Eagles was disheartening, the fan base received an injection of hope when the team traded Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for a 2nd Round 2023 NFL Draft pick. After the Week 9 bye, the Steelers did something they hadn’t done much, and that’s win. A dominating Week 10 win, combined with the return of T.J. Watt to the lineup, has fans feeling good about the direction of the organization.
In Week 11 a 37-30 loss to the Bengals has the roller coaster ride of fan confidence moving once again. What the team needed was a bounce back game, and they got it on Monday Night Football with a 24-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers followed up the prime time win with their first back-to-back victories of the season, beating the Atlanta Falcons on the road in Week 13.
The good vibes from the fan base didn’t last long, with the 16-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 causing the confidence to fall of a proverbial cliff. After rebounding with a Week 15 win over the Carolina Panthers would have the fan base feeling good again, right? Sort of, but the win over Carolina had them trending in the right direction. The Week 16 win on Christmas Eve over the Las Vegas Raiders didn’t provide a drastic boost, but a steady incline in fan confidence. The next big jump in fan confidence came with the team’s third straight win, and another comeback win, this time over the Ravens in Week 17.
While the Steelers’ playoff hopes were dashed in Week 18, they still beat the Browns at home and made it four wins in a row to finish out the season. Playoffs? No. Fan confidence high? You bet.
As a part of SB Nation’s Reacts poll, sponsored by DraftKings Sportsbook, every fan who takes the poll, which equates to a lot of fans, were asked a simple question:
Are you confident in the direction of the team?
Preseason Confidence: 91%
Pre-Regular Season Confidence: 81%
Week 1 Confidence: 80%
Week 2 Confidence: 20%
Week 3 Confidence: 21%
Week 4 Confidence: 52%
Week 5 Confidence: 22%
Week 6 Confidence: 54%
Week 7 Confidence: 36%
Week 8 Confidence: 35%
Week 9 Confidence: 21%
Week 10 Confidence: 57%
Week 11 Confidence: 23%
Week 12 Confidence: 70%
Week 13 Confidence: 61%
Week 14 Confidence: 35%
Week 15 Confidence: 51%
Week 16 Confidence: 60%
Week 17 Confidence: 86%
Week 18 Confidence: 88%
This might come as a shock, but the 88% confidence percentage is the highest of the regular season. You have to go back to early in the undefeated preseason when there was a higher confidence percentage (91%).
With the regular season finale upon us, it felt as if there was a natural follow-up question for the fan base to make their voices heard. The question was simple:
After the season, do you see Kenny Pickett as the future at QB?
With the way the season ended, the fan base strongly sees him as the future.
While there are still some fans who are skeptical of Pickett being “the guy” for the Steelers moving forward, those fans are certainly in the minority moving into the offseason.
A lot can change throughout the course of a offseason, and we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-speed on the fan base’s feelings of the team. But what say you? Do you have confidence in the direction of the team?
Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for a long offseason.
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