Fans in the Steel City expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to play for the Lombardi Trophy every season. Sadly, a ninth Super Bowl appearance was not the finishing headline to the Black and Gold's 2011.
While coming up short does not fully negate the pride derived from another winning campaign, the team has established a level of expectation that Steelers Country doesn't shy away from:
Super Bowl or bust. In 2011, the ultimate goal wasn't achieved. A loss in Denver stunned Pittsburgh, though many debate whether the Steelers were physically capable, considering their many injuries, of winning another Lamar Hunt Trophy.
Yet, despite the disappointment of a heartbreaking playoff loss, a second-place finish in the AFC North, and an early offseason, the Black and Gold can still take pride in fighting back against adversity and achieving progress in key areas.
Talents emerged, Pro Bowlers further cemented their Hall of Fame credentials, and the team added its 30th winning campaign in the last 39 seasons (since 1972).
Even though the ending wasn't satisfactory for a community filled with high expectations fostered by previous successes, another great year of tradition was added to the legacy of the NFL's greatest team. It was a season that will be remembered fondly by those wise enough to remember the better moments.
These were the top 10 storylines that Steelers fans have enjoyed—or endured—since that fateful start in Baltimore on September 11, 2011.