The fan reaction after a devastating Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff loss is predictable. When the play on the field doesn’t match the expectation of fans’ minds, it turns into a fire sale — EVERYTHING MUST GO!!
On several different social media platforms, and the comment section of this fine establishment, fans were fuming over a lot after the Jaguars’ 45-42 upset win over the Steelers, but were primarily targeting Mike Tomlin, Todd Haley and Keith Butler.
Rightfully so. The team looked as unprepared, and uninspired, as any game in the Mike Tomlin era.
However, while some are calling for a complete overhaul of the coaching staff, and some key players, the Steelers are well beyond the point where a rebuild of the staff and roster are necessary. Rather, the team just needs some change. Could this change come from the coaching staff? For the first time in a long time, I actually think it could. No, I don’t think Mike Tomlin is going anywhere, but Todd Haley and Keith Butler’s jobs are anything but safe right now.
As for the roster, change too is inevitable, but the organization would be wise to continue to focus on the character of the team. Last year you saw the team draft high character players. T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cameron Sutton, James Conner and Joshua Dobbs. They would be wise to continue this trend in an effort to decrease the amount of off-field issues, and increase the focus on their play on the field.
Will change take place? It always does, such is life in the free agency era, but the changes within the Steelers’ organization shouldn’t be drastic. While another professional team in Pittsburgh is dumping salary and rebuilding, again, the Steelers should be contenders again next year as long as Ben Roethlisberger returns next season.
Time to check in on the Steelers news outside the walls of BTSC...
If the Jaguars have to play New England in Haiti for the AFC Championship, that might not be a bad deal.
At least Jacksonville-to-Haiti is a shorter flight than it is to Foxborough, Mass.
The Steelers have no such concerns. In the words of Jacksonville defensive end Malik Jackson: “They said they were gonna be in Boston. So I guess they are going to be in Boston watching us. We’ll send them Jags jerseys so they can support us.”
Never have I seen a locker room enjoy a victory so much over an opposing team as Jacksonville’s 45-42 playoff win over the Steelers.
Whether it was Mike Mitchell’s ”Hell or Haiti” quote before the regular season finale about playing the Patriots again, Mike Tomlin’s November NBC interview forecasting the prospect of a rematch against New England even before the first meeting occurred or Le’Veon Bell’s tweet suggesting the Steelers were going to have two rematches in the playoffs, the Jaguars seemed inspired by what they perceived to be a disrespecting Steelers team that looked ahead.
A season that started with Super Bowl aspirations, one filled with incredible comebacks and last-minute victories, ended with a touchdown in the final second.
Yet, there was no celebration from JuJu Smith-Schuster, the rookie receiver who had turned touchdowns into viral video sensations.
It was a hollow moment Sunday at Heinz Field, the solemn silence that followed the devastating defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC divisional playoff.
”Of course, because you know it’s not enough,” said Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whose 4-yarder to Smith-Schuster was his fifth touchdown pass of a 469-yard performance.
”We wanted an opportunity to go win the game. That’s what we all crave and want. That opportunity just didn’t happen.”
What cruel irony for Tyson Alualu. A former top-10 draft pick by Jacksonville who spent seven seasons with the Jaguars and never appeared in the playoffs, the defensive lineman signed with the Steelers this season in order for a chance at the Super Bowl.
Sunday, in his first postseason game, Alualu’s season ended with a 45-42 loss to his former teammates.
“With how everything played out, I probably wanted this win more than anything, with it being the Jags,” Alualu said quietly.
“But in all honesty now that we’re not contenders, I’m rooting them on to win it all.”