Though a good portion of the NFL would gladly trade places with Pittsburgh, the Steelers' 2012 campaign has fallen short of what prognosticators predicted and what fans hoped for. A 7-5 record and uncertain playoff prospects after 12 games certainly seem disappointing when compared to last year's 12-4 finish.
Forget disappointing, Pittsburgh’s season has been maddening. The team’s week-to-week performance has been erratic and inconsistent, leaving fans wondering whether the Steelers are a good team that has had some bad luck/poor games or a mediocre team that has overachieved on occasion.
With the season more than half over, it seems unlikely that this team will iron out its problems, play well consistently on both sides of the ball and reach the Super Bowl.
It’s not impossible, of course. The Giants showed last year that a team that pulls together at the right time can make an unexpected run in the playoffs. As fans, that’s certainly the hope that we’re guarding in our hearts. But we’d be lying if we said that beating the Texans or Patriots on the road in January seemed realistic.
Steelers fans can take comfort, though, that there is cause for optimism looking toward 2013.
For starters, a lot of what has gone wrong this year can be chalked up to luck, which tends to balance out over time.
More importantly, there are some bright spots and pleasant surprises that give hope for the future. Here’s a list of key positive takeaways from the 2012 season.