After missing the AFC playoffs the last two years, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the sleeping giant everybody in the AFC better get ready for in 2020.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will make 2020 their year.
The reason for this is the last two years have not been their years. For much of their history, Pittsburgh has been a perennial AFC playoff team. They’ve won Super Bowls with three different head coaches. Pittsburgh epitomizes what a winning football culture looks like. The Steelers never rebuild, they only reload. It’s only a matter of time before they’re back to prominence.
2020 will be another year without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown nonsense in their locker room. Not since Troy Polamalu was in his prime have the Steelers had this type of dominating defense. If last year showed us anything, it was that we would be stupid to question how good of a head coach Mike Tomlin is. He was one game away from taking a ragtag Steelers team to the playoffs.
With either Mason Rudolph or Devlin Hodges starting 14 of their 16 games, the Steelers were in the mix for the final AFC Wild Card spot that ultimately went to the Tennessee Titans. Had Ben Roethlisberger been able to play more than part of two games last year, Pittsburgh had the culture and the defense capable of getting back to the postseason. They were this close.
Yes, Roethlisberger will be back in 2020 after blowing out his elbow in Week 2. He underwent Tommy John surgery to fix his torn UCL. With maybe a year or two left of high-end football left in the tank, don’ t think for a second Roethlisberger won’t give everything he’s got this upcoming football season. He wants one more Lombardi Trophy before he retires. Can he do it?
So with a great defense, a great coach and a Hall-of-Fame quarterback, the Steelers can certainly bounce back in a big way in 2020. Of all the teams that missed out on the AFC playoffs last year, the Steelers have to be the favorites to find themselves in this year. Let’s not forget about the postseason field possibly expanding to seven teams in both conferences as soon as next season.
Had that been in place a season ago, Hodges would have started a road playoff game at Arrowhead vs. the Kansas City Chiefs as a No. 2 seed. In short, the Steelers are so close to being relevant in the AFC again, we can almost taste it. This is bad news for the AFC North and every other team who plays the Steelers this season.
With the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns being dysfunctional and the Baltimore Ravens poised to pull back, maybe the Steelers win the AFC North? At the very least, they’ll challenge Baltimore for the division. If the Steelers are not back in the postseason in January, maybe it’s time to draft a new quarterback? For now, all eyes are on this sleeping AFC giant.