It is not how Sunday was suppose to go down, but it happened. A season filled with injuries and playing down to their competition finally caught up to the Steelers. In the blink of an eye, Pittsburgh went from having a chance to cap off an impressive comeback victory to watching Tim Tebow and the Broncos celebrate one of the most stunning playoff upsets in recent memory.
Now, instead of preparing to battle their playoff demons in a matchup against the New England Patriots next week, Pittsburgh is starting their offseason sooner than any of us would have liked or expected.
This offseason will be particularly tough, as Pittsburgh's front office will have many difficult choices to make.
“There’s always going to be changes,” said Mike Tomlin.
“There are changes every year. I am not going to sit here and pretend like there’s not going to be changes. To what extent, at this point I am not ready to address. That’s why I enjoy these journeys. They are precious. At the end of this thing, the wheels do continue to turn."
The wheels will certainly continue to turn, and that may come at the expense of some popular players. Expect the Steelers to be well over the salary cap and have to make decisions on longtime veterans who once were the core of two Pittsburgh Super Bowl championship teams.
The team clearly needs an infusion of young talent, but they are by no means in need of an overhaul. There are still a core of talented players on the roster, and there are others who should be ready to step in for aging veterans next season.
Remember, the Steelers are coming off a 12-4 season and were one win away from earning the top seed in the AFC. There is no need to blow up the roster. There is no need to fire the entire coaching staff. That talk is nonsense and was the voice of frustration coming out following a disappointing loss.
That does not mean that changes are not needed. They are. This team cannot stand pat and expect to keep up with the AFC elites.
Let's take a look at the early offseason game plan for the Steelers.