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Steelers Make Worst of Hot Start to 2020 Season: ‘We Died on the Vine’



PITTSBURGH — The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers were the 12th team in NFL history to start their season with 11 consecutive victories after beating the Baltimore Ravens in late November.

What they did after that 11-0 start is the very worst among the teams that got that far.

The Steelers lost four of their final five regular season games to finish at 12-4. The previous worst final record for an 11-0 team had been 14-2, which six of the other teams accomplished.

All 12 made the postseason, of course, with five winning the Super Bowl, four losing in the Super Bowl, and two losing in the Division Playoff. The 2020 Steelers were the first team to start the season 11-0 and not make it to at least the second round of the NFL postseason.

“We didn’t do enough,” head coach Mike Tomlin said on Sunday. “We didn’t position them in enough good circumstances. We didn’t make enough plays, particularly in the critical moments. We were a group that died on the vine.”

The Steelers dealt with significant injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where linebackers Devin Bush and Bud Dupree were lost for the season, and Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Robert Spillane, Stephon Tuitt and Vince Williams all missed key time.

“We lost some great players, but you know, injuries are part of the game,” defensive captain Cam Heyward said. “And I can never make excuses and say injuries caught up to us but you know, there are things that have to be addressed. We just had one of the worst showings as a defense the whole year. We did not play complementary football. We did not have our offense’s back. Starts at the top with me. It was not acceptable. I don’t know what it is, but we did not play well.”

Offensively, the team struggled to run the ball in the second half of the season and Ben Roethlisberger got less and less effective as the year went on.

While the 12-4 regular season record and AFC North Division title that came along with it will look good in the team’s record, everyone involved with the 

“What an amazing run we had,” Roethlisberger lamented. “A great group of guys. I know only one team ends the season the way they want it, want to. It’s just disappointing that this season didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”

Pro Football Hall of Fame

HOF Voter Ed Bouchette Makes Hall of Fame Case for Former Steelers Guard Alan Faneca



As the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee met Tuesday, The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette made the case for former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca.

Bouchette listed Faneca’s career accomplishments, of which there are many, and compared him to others league-wide and at his positions with similar credentials, demonstrating how it is long past time the six-time All-Pro received the football’s highest honor.

Selected in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU, Faneca spent the first decade of his career in Pittsburgh before closing with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals.

Faneca missed just two games over his 13-year career, was selected to nine-straight Pro Bowls and named First-Team All-Pro six times. He was also named to the All-Decade team of the 2000s and won Super Bowl XL with the Steelers.

The Class of 2021 will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 8, 2021.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Selector Bill Polian Makes Case for Former Steelers Scout Bill Nunn



With the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee meeting Tuesday to determine the next group legends to be enshrined, Hall of Famer and former general manager Bill Polian made the case for Pittsburgh Steelers scout Bill Nunn.

In his presentation, Polian especially highlighted Nunn’s impact as a revolutionary in the scouting process targeting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Nunn’s vital scouting these underrepresented players and institutions proved vital in crafting the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s.

“He was the authority, while working for the (Pittsburgh) Courier, on HBCU football. He might well have been termed the Scout-in-Chief of HBCU football,” Polian said. “Bill Nunn helped create one of the greatest teams of all time.”

A Pittsburgh native, Nunn attended Westinghouse high school and West Virginia State College before embarking on a journalism career with the Pittsburgh Courier. Eventually becoming the managing editor of the paper, Nunn gained notoriety for his black college All-American teams, highlighting relatively unknown players at HBCUs.

Nunn’s expertise translated to his career with the Steelers, where his scouting led the organization to draft a number of legends form HBCUs, including L.C. Greenwood, Mel Blount, Ernie Holmes, John Stallworth and Donnie Shell.

Nunn would become the first Steelers nominated as a contributor if selected. Executives Art and Dan Rooney were inducted prior to the designation in 1964 and 2000, respectively.

The Class of 2021 will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 8, 2021.

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Steelers WR Chase Claypool Named to PFWA NFL All-Rookie Team



Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool has been named to the 2020 Pro Football Writers of America NFL All-Rookie team.

Claypool was honored along with Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson as the top 2020 rookies at the position. 

The Notre Dame product caught 62 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He also rushed for a pair of scores, tying Louis Lipps for the most touchdowns scored by a Steelers rookie with 11 total.

Claypool was the 11th wide receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft when the Steelers took him with the 49th overall selection. 

Claypool previously won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award as the Steelers’ rookie of the year.

This is the second straight season the Steelers had a PFWA All-Rookie member, as linebacker Devin Bush was a part of the 2019 squad. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and linebacker T.J. Watt were awarded in 2017.

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