According to Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, in a TMZ exclusive, the Steelers would have made the Super Bowl if he hadn't suffered a knee injury in November and if other players had stayed healthy. Bell was sidelined in November after a questionable tackle by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the same player who was suspended for a dirty hit on Antonio Brown during the wildcard match up. Brown went on to miss the divisional playoff game against the Denver Broncos.
Also missing all or part of the season due to injury were Kelvin Beachum, Maurkice Pouncey, DeAngelo Williams and Ben Roethlisberger. Running back DeAngelo Williams played excellent football in Bell's stead until he, too, was sidelined with injury.
The team has had to play without Bell before, collapsing in 2013 and suffering a sad loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the wildcard game without Bell. This year, however, the Steelers found a way to survive without their star. Running backs coach James Saxon was able to do damage control, preparing Fitzgerald Toussaint for the final games of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 season.
Would the Steelers have made the Super Bowl if everyone had been healthy? While injuries played a role in the Steelers missteps this season, they also self-destructed during games when key players were healthy. The Broncos defense would have had a nightmare situation facing both Bell and Brown. It is important to remember, however, that the Broncos were also at a disadvantage with Peyton Manning at the helm. The veteran quarterback and future Hall of Famer is past his prime, unable to throw with strength, precision and accuracy, and virtually immobile. Yet, the Broncos managed to beat the Steelers.
Injuries were part of the story this season, but there are other areas that cost the Steelers a spot in the Super Bowl. Meanwhile Le'Veon Bell told TMZ that he is feeling better and optimistic he can get back to full strength.