UNITY TWP., Pa. — Since the middle part of the 1970s, the standard for the Pittsburgh Steelers has been the Super Bowl.
The franchise that was the biggest part of Pittsburgh being named the City of Champions in that decade has won six Lombardi Trophies, tied for the most in NFL history.
But this season, the Steelers are in something of an unfamiliar position. Coming off a 9-6-1 season and the departures of star skill position players Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, the Steelers aren’t among the favorites to win Super Bowl LIV on February 2, 2020.
New England, owners of six Lombardi Trophies of their own, and Kansas City are current the favorites at 6/1 odds. The Steelers? All the way down in a tie for 10th at 20/1.
In fact, the Steelers aren’t even the favorite to win their own division, with the upstart Cleveland Browns owning the top spot in the betting odds.
So what does that mean the Steelers have been talking about during the first few days of their 2019 training camp? The Super Bowl, of course. As head coach Mike Tomlin loves to say, “the standard is the standard.”
And while that hasn’t — and probably won’t change — the Steelers know that some things on the field need to change if they’re going to beat those odds and bring home Super Bowl win No. 7.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to put it on the field,” cornerback Joe Haden said. “We’ve got to put it on tape. We didn’t make the playoffs last year, so they can say what they want. It’s up to us to make it happen.”
And they don’t feel like they’re that far away. Yes, the offense has lost talented players, but there have been significant additions to the defense in the form of first-round pick Devin Bush and free agents Mark Barron and Steven Nelson.
Doit Tuitt, Wobble, Ty, Big Dan, First 48, Turn Down for Watt, Italian Stallion, Vinny aka small D Tackle, Joe Money, Artie B, lil mike, New New Stevie Nelson, SD, No body fat Rell, and some more new additions. Y’all can’t convince me that don’t have the goods. We gotta prove it
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) July 28, 2019
“If we do what we’re supposed to do, that narrative will change real quick, I’m sure,” guard Ramon Foster said.
While the players are aware that they are capable of achieving the greatness that they strive for, there’s also a very real acknowledgement that it’s been a long time since the Steelers have been there.
The only player on the roster that is left from the team’s 2008-09 Super Bowl win is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Two months later, they signed Foster. After the 2010 season, the Steelers made the Super Bowl once again, this time losing to the Green Bay Packers. Center Maurkice Pouncey was a rookie that year. For those players, and some of the team’s other veterans like Haden and defensive lineman Tyson Alualu (entering 10th season) and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward (entering ninth season), there is a real sense of urgency to get there.
“That’s why I play this game,” Heyward said. “It’s something I love to do and to get your name etched in history is what you want. The only way to do that is to win the Super Bowl.”
“That’s the goal, man,” added Haden. “That’s the thing that just being able to play for the Steelers and knowing that playoffs is not it. They want to win championships. They’ve won a lot of championships. They’re trying to get to seven. Just knowing that that’s the goal here, that’s what everybody is shooting for. It just makes you want to go from the first day, from day one, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
No Guaranteed Money in Dwayne Haskins’ Low-Risk Steelers Contract
Further details of quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers have emerged, demonstrating just how low-risk the acquisition is for the club.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Haskins’ Reserve/Future contract with the Steelers is a one-year, $850,000 deal with no guaranteed money.
No bells or whistles to Dwayne Haskins' reserve/future deal with the Steelers: 1-year, $850K, 0 guarantees.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 26, 2021
He's got plenty of money still due from WFT.
This was all about fit for Haskins, with a good chance to develop in Pittsburgh, while the Steelers take a zero risk flier.
Simply put, the Steelers will not be on the hook for any money if they decide to part ways further down the line. If Haskins turns out to be a diamond in the rough for Pittsburgh, they will have acquired him on a tremendous bargain.
Haskins is not getting a raw deal financially either, as he is still being paid on his four-year, $14,416,611 rookie deal with Washington. Signing with the Steelers gives him an opportunity to prove himself with a steady organization without worrying about the financial implications.
A first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Haskins was waived by Washington in late December after the young quarterback was photographed maskless at a strip club, in clear violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols and mid-pandemic common sense.
Haskins was shaky over two seasons in Washington, passing for 12 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, while completing just over 60% of his passes.
The Steelers are hoping Haskins can flash the talent he showed in his final season at Ohio State, where he completed 70% of his passes for 4,831 yards with 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He finished third in Heisman Trophy voting in 2018.
By signing Haskins to such a low-risk, team-friendly contract, Pittsburgh will have an excellent opportunity to determine if some of that talent is still there.
Report: Steelers Interviewing Mike Sullivan for QB Coach Vacancy
The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly interviewing Mike Sullivan for their quarterbacks coach vacancy, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.
A 17-year coaching veteran at the NFL level, Sullivan was most recently the quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos in 2018. He also has previous experience as an offensive coordinator with the New York Giants (2016-17) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-12).
Sullivan is currently the Director of Recruiting at his alma mater Army, a position he has held since March of last year.
Sullivan would also bring additional championship pedigree to the Steelers, having won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI with the Giants.
Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011 under Sullivan, passing for a career-high 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns.
The Steelers are looking to fill the void left by Matt Canada, who was officially promoted to offensive coordinator on Monday.
The Steelers are talking to Mike Sullivan, a long-time former offensive coordinator/QB coach with the NY Giants and Denver Broncos, about becoming their QB coach, per source.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 26, 2021
Mic Drop: Rooting for Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell Is Easy Choice
The idea that either Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell will become a Super Bowl champion after Super Bowl LV isn’t exactly something that makes Steelers fans excited for the big game. With that said, Mike Asti feels deciding who to root for should be an easy choice for Steelers fans. He wants to set the record straight once and for all of why Pittsburgh fans need to stop grouping the two former Steelers together.
While they both left the franchise in a cloud of drama, Le’Veon Bell doesn’t deserve to be treated as if he committed the same kind of sins against the Steelers that Antonio Brown did.