I’m an optimist by nature. Despite the circumstances, I’m always trying to find the good in every situation. It’s a blessing, but it can also be a curse when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Many people likely read the headline of this article and immediately think something like this:
“The Steelers didn’t win the Super Bowl...there’s nothing memorable about this season.”
Again, I tend to disagree.
Sure, the Steelers season ending in the fashion it did vs. the Jaguars in the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs was forgettable, not memorable, but let’s take a step back and just go over what took place throughout 2017, in chronological order.
The memorable moments of the 2017-2018 season:
- The National Anthem, and flop, vs. the Bears at Solider Field.
- Beating the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium for the first time since Charlie Batch hit Heath Miller for the game-winning, pylon touching, score.
- Ben Roethlisberger’s five interceptions and wondering if he still has “it”.
- Taking out the undefeated Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, and starting an 8-game winning streak.
- Antonio Brown’s freakish play throughout the entire season. Single-handedly saving games and setting up Chris Boswell to nail game-winning field goals with regularity.
- The Thursday Night Football debut of the “sky cam” view...some loved it, some hated it.
- The Monday Night Football game which saw Ryan Shazier motionless from the waist down, and JuJu Smith-Schuster laying out Vontaze Burfict.
- Jesse James’ would-be touchdown taken away due to the league’s absurd ‘catch rule’.
- The Steelers sweeping the AFC North for only the second time in the Ben Roethlisberger era.
- The emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster as one of the most exciting and likable rookies in Pittsburgh history.
- Mike Hilton being the feel-good story of the year. Turning a future/reserve contract into a starting spot in the slot.
- ...and those are just the on-field memorable moments.
I could go into more off-field issues:
- Le’Veon Bell’s preseason holdout.
- Antonio Brown’s Gatorade cooler tantrum.
- Martavis Bryant requesting a trade, and then throwing JuJu Smith-Schuster under the proverbial bus.
- Ben Roethlisberger questioning whether he can still play the game at a high level.
- The National Anthem plan which went south in a hurry.
- The unfortunate #Shalieve movement which is still going strong.
- ...and I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the drama which ensued throughout this season.
While the season didn’t end the way everyone wanted, I can honestly say I’ll never forget the 2017-2018 season. The year when the offense eventually developed into what we thought they were, and the defense starting strong but then taking on water in a serious way.
This past season leaves fans with a ton of uncertainty heading into next season, but the hope for a seventh Lombardi trophy should remain strong. As long as Bell returns to Pittsburgh, one way or another, the majority of the offense will be back, albeit with a new offensive coordinator.
Much bigger questions remain on the defensive side of the ball. Inconsistencies abound in both pass and rush defense. Roster turnover could be the reality on the defensive side of the football, and this might not be such a bad thing.
Nonetheless, the Steelers embark on the off-season knowing the need to improve, but also realizing they could be on the cusp of something special next year.
I’ll say it again, I’ll never forget the 2017-2018 Pittsburgh Steelers season, and that makes it memorable.