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Steelers Extend Incredible Streak to 35 Years

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Mike Tomlin extended his non-losing season streak to 17 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 30-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Well, another streak has also been upheld. Due to the Bengals’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s confirmed that Cincinnati will finish last in the AFC North. The Steelers haven’t finished last in their division since 1988, a whopping 35-year streak. No other team in the NFL has avoided the basement of their division in that span. 

In 1988, the Steelers finished 5-11, their worst season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. They were five games behind the Houston Oilers and the Cleveland Browns and six games behind the Bengals, who played in the Super Bowl that season. 

The Steelers have no playoff wins in their last six seasons, which is a frustrated stat for the team and fanbase. That could change this year if the Steelers sneak into the playoffs. But, regardless, the Steelers are at least competitive every year. They’re one of the most stable franchises in the NFL.

Only Tom Landry (21 seasons, 1965-1985) and Bill Belichick (19 seasons, 2001-2019) have more consecutive winning seasons than Tomlin’s 17. Landry had five consecutive losing seasons to start his career with the Dallas Cowboys, while Belichick had losing seasons in Cleveland and in his first season in New England.

Overall, the Steelers haven’t had a losing season since 2003, which is by far the longest active streak in the NFL. It’s also the second-longest streak in NFL history behind just the Dallas Cowboys’ 21-year run from 1965-85. The Steelers finished 8-8 four times over the past two decades (2006, 2012, 2013 and 2018).

Since becoming the Steelers head coach in 2007, Tomlin has only coached one game that did not have playoff implications or matter to it. That was the Week 17 regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns in 2012.

The Browns defeated the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football, 37-20 to clinch a playoff berth and ensure that Cleveland will finish ahead of the Steelers for the first time in 34 yards. The Browns are 11-5 and can finish no worse than 11-6. The Ravens destroyed the Miami Dolphins on Sunday to clinch the division title and No. 1 overall seed in the AFC on Sunday.

The Steelers need to beat Baltimore in Week 18 and hope for some help to make the postseason. The Ravens likely will rest their starters since they have the No. 1 seed in the AFC locked up. Pittsburgh has a 28 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to the New York Times’ simulator.