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Analyst Says Steelers Must Have a Playoff Run in 2024 for Season to Be Deemed Successful

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Pittsburgh Steelers QB Russell Wilson Justin Fields

The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t won a playoff game in nearly a decade. The exact date was Jan. 15, 2017, a Steelers’ 18-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round game. The Chiefs were still over a year away from landing Patrick Mahomes in the draft. That’s how long it’s been.

A playoff win drought of seven years hasn’t happened for the Steelers since pre-1972, so it’s uncharted waters. And Steelers president Art Rooney II made it clear this offseason that it doesn’t sit well with him.

“We’ve had enough of this,” Rooney said in January. “It’s time to get some wins. It’s time to take the next steps. There is some urgency here, for sure.”

NFL.com’s Nick Shook thinks the Steelers need to make a playoff run in 2024 for the season to be deemed successful.

“Look, I don’t mean to speak for all Steelers fans here. However, while it’s great to have a head coach who has never had a losing season, how about more seasons where you win a Super Bowl? Heck, how about winning a playoff game? The Steelers haven’t done that since 2016!” Shook wrote. “I know many of you might be too young to know about Tom Landry — a longtime Cowboys coach who went years without a losing record but won just two Super Bowls, thanks in large part to the Steelers teams of the era. Tomlin just signed an extension, so he’s not going anywhere. But at some juncture, you need to realize that you’ve been on the stairway to seven for a while, and it’s time to do some more winning in the postseason.”

Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during an OTAs practice on May 21, 2024. — Steelers Now/ Ed Thompson

Pressuring is certainly mounting due to the lack of playoff success, but Rooney is still comfortable with Tomlin as the head coach. He thinks Tomlin has a special knack of relating to players and getting the most out of them. That’s why he gave him a three-year extension earlier this month.

“The players still respond to Mike and that’s No. 1,” Rooney said. “He still has the key characteristics that we saw when we hired him. He can keep the attention of a group of 20-year-olds for a whole season and keep them in the fight the whole way. Still feel good about Mike. Obviously, if I didn’t, we’d make change. If we didn’t think Mike was able to lead us to a championship, he wouldn’t be here. That’s why he’s here.”

Quarterback play has been the biggest issue for the Steelers over the last five years. Ben Roethlisberger was a shell of his former self late in his career, and the Kenny Pickett/Mitch Trubisky experiment was a disaster of epic proportions.

For sure, the Steelers have improved their quarterbacks room with Russell Wilson and Justin Fields this offseason. But will it result in postseason success? Only time will tell.