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Mike Tomlin’s Challenge Win a Long Time Coming

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For the first time since 2017, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin won a challenge on Monday night.

Tomlin successfully overturned the spot on a fourth-down run by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick that gave the Steelers the ball instead of a Miami first down.

The play turned out to be pivotal, as the Steelers used the short field to set up a James Conner touchdown and put the game out of reach.

But Tomlin even though he got a good look at the play, Tomlin wasn’t exactly sure he’d get this one. After all, he couldn’t exactly have much confidence with 11 straight red flags getting handed back to him in a losing effort.

“I didn’t feel any better about that challenge than I do many of the ones that I lost,” Tomlin said on Tuesday. “I felt good about it, but I felt good about the ones that I’ve lost. So, you never know what you’re going to get.”

The one thing that did give Tomlin some confidence was that he was standing right at the first-down sticks when the play was run and he had a pretty good look at it with his own eyes before he saw the replay.

“I saw it from the field,” he said. “You know, sometimes when you’re on the field and you’re at the line to gain, you have a perspective. So, I didn’t necessarily need the replay. I was on field level.”

To put some context into how long it’s been since Tomlin won a challenge, it was also against the Dolphins — in the teams’ meeting in the playoffs after the 2016 season. That spot call was also overturned when then-Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (now with the New York Jets) was ruled short of the end zone after a tackle by Donald Butler and Terrence Fede, who are both now out of the NFL.

Since then, Tomlin lost challenges on a Tom Brady quarterback sneak, a Blake Bortles pass to Keelan Cole, a Ben Roethlisberger incomplete pass top Antonio Brown, a Dustin Colquitt punt being downed by the Kansas City Chiefs, a would-be interception on an Andy Dalton pass, another downed kick, this time by Sean Davis, a Lamar Jackson run, the spot on a Ryan Switzer catch, the spot on a Juju Smith-Schuster catch, yet another punt downed by the Patriots.

This season, for the first time, NFL coaches are allowed to challenge pass interference. Tomlin did so once, his only challenge prior to Monday this season, when he challenged an offensive pass interference penalty against Johnny Holton against the Seattle Seahawks.

He didn’t get that one, either.

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Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

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Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

Do you still believe in Zach Banner?

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Steelers

Zach Banner Announces Self-imposed Social Media Ban Until he Signs New Deal

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Zach Banner is sending a clear message about his priorities ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Banner, who is a free agent and looking for a new deal with the Steelers, tweeted that he is going to stay off social media until he officially signs on the dotted line.

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault. He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. Banner now hopes to return to Pittsburgh and be the missing piece the Steelers offensive line desperately needs.

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Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp

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There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.

“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.

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