The Pittsburgh Steelers have been an easy target for other fanbases to hate on over the last couple of decades. There were the multiple Ben Roethlisberger scandals, the Le’Veon Bell holdout, the Antonio Brown saga, and of course the JuJu Smith-Schuster Tik Toks (that wound folks up for whatever reason).
The drama died up, but then the Steelers quickly became one of the most boring offenses in the NFL ... making it harder for the team to gain national interest as fantasy football and betting is the main drivers of the league.
As we enter the 2023 season, Roethlisberger’s stank is far away from the team, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are out of the league, and the Steelers roster is filled with young, exciting, likeable playmakers on both sides of the ball ... We are officially entering a new era of Steelers football.
‘Pickett to Pickens’
QB Kenny Pickett and WR George Pickens entered the league together last season and the duo showed an immediate connection in year one. Pickens was the target on four of Pickett’s seven total passing touchdowns in his rookie year. The catchphrase “Pickett to Pickens” was born after the two started connecting on crazy, contested receptions down the field.
Pickens has been hyped as a second-year breakout in fantasy football all offseason and his draft cost is only going to increase after the Steelers Week 1 preseason game. On Pickett’s one and only offensive drive in the preseason opener, he threw a dart down the middle of the field to Pickens for a 33-yard touchdown. These two get to grow up in the league together and their connection should only get stronger and stronger throughout the years.
T.J. Watt & Minkah Fitzpatrick bring flare on defense
The Steelers have two of the best in the game when it comes to creating sacks and turnovers — the most entertaining defensive plays in football.
T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick have played in tandem since 2019. Over that four-season span, Watt leads the league in sacks, while Fitzpatrick has the second-most takeaways among all defenders. Since the Steelers traded for Fitzpatrick, the two have combined for 33 takeaways, which is the most among all current teammate duos since 2019. As long as both of these guys are healthy together on the field, you are going to have fun watching this Steelers’ defense dominate.
Najee Harris’ & Cameron Heyward’s work in the community
As soon as Najee Harris received his NFL contract, he helped renovate a homeless shelter he and his family lived in during his childhood. Over his time in Pittsburgh, he has held events to help homeless children throughout Steel City, and has created “Da Bigger Picture Foundation” to assist underserved families in reaching their potential and goals.
Cameron Heyward is a five-time Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee due to all of his work in the community. Heyward has opened Craig’s Closet locations throughout Pittsburgh which provides free suits for high schoolers in need, he started a literacy program with little libraries around the city, he volunteers at the Children’s Hospital, he hosted a Teacher Appreciate Day at training camp in 2022 ... the list goes on and on and on. Last year, he even took it a step further by starting “Cam’s Kindness Week” which is a week filled with extra community service events. This man is just a class act (plus, one hell of a defensive tackle).
Not only are Harris and Heyward extremely talented, integral players for the Steelers ... but they also are very kind, thoughtful humans. These are two of the easiest dudes to root for in the NFL.
When is the last time you remember a Steelers roster being this likeable? Join our Behind The Steel Curtain community and let us know in the comments!