The Steelers’ non-losing season streak under Mike Tomlin gets a lot of publicity. Even their organizational winning streak goes back over twenty years. They have not had a losing season in a long, long time. But when was the last time the team was genuinely putrid? The Patriots are experiencing that feeling for the first time in a long time, as they sit at 2-7, their first time at five games under .500 since 2000.
The Steelers have played 554 games since their last five games under .500, according to Elias Sports Bureau. That goes back to 1989, meaning from the end of Chuck Noll’s tenure through the entirety of Bill Cowher’s tenure and, of course, through all of Mike Tomlin’s tenure. They beat out the Patriots and Dolphins, with the Dolphins the closest from 1970 to 2004 under their golden age.
For the record, Tomlin has only played one game that did not have playoff implications or matter to it. As such, it is an impressive mark for Tomlin to continue to reach, although he has not made it to the playoffs every year of that streak. That’s the standard the Steelers hold their organization to, for better or worse.
Though, to hold such consistency since 1989 is a wildly impressive feat. Pittsburgh still does look like they will reach that this year, either, sitting at 5-3 with a schedule that has some lighter games on the back half of the schedule. Pittsburgh will look to make the playoffs after missing last year by a narrow margin in a close AFC North.
It will be tough, as the AFC North does currently holds unique positions in football. After this week, all four AFC North teams claim four playoff spots. The Steelers, Bengals, and Browns are all tied at 5-3. The Steelers hold the tiebreaker between those teams thanks to their head-to-head win over the Browns, and thus keep the No. 5 seed. The Browns have the No. 6 seed the Bengals the No. 7 seed. The Ravens lead the division.