For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, November 12, 2012 holds a special and peculiar significance. The Pittsburgh fan base has experienced far more golden years than black over the last four-plus decades, enduring only seven losing campaigns in the last 41 seasons. For a community of ardent loyalists to truly understand the importance of the specific calendar date above, they need only journey back through time.
It was a crisp autumn day in the Steel City, a mild chill in the air coupled with a feverish anticipation for Monday Night Football. The Steelers had overcome a slow 2-3 start and rallied to a 6-3 record. It was the perfect time to host the Kansas City Chiefs, a lusterless squad mired in a lost season.
Conversely, the Steelers were finally firing on all cylinders. Optimism reigned supreme after a fourth-quarter rally over Eli Manning and the New York Giants resulted in a 24-20 win the week before. The defense played well but, perhaps most importantly, the ever-magnified and supremely scrutinized Steelers offense, under the guidance of new coordinator Todd Haley, seemed to be firing on all cylinders. The effort included 147 rushing yards from Isaac Redman.
This was a vision of Steelers football that seemed to embody the best virtues of Pittsburgh pigskin: solid defense, great run support, timely playmaking, extreme physicality, and all for the sake of finding a way to WIN.
In 2013, the word "win" is as absent in most Western Pa. homes as winning lottery tickets.
W. I. N. A.W.O.L. (Absent without leave OR "Ain't winning, only losing!")
So, what was Monday, November 12, 2012? In short, it was the fulcrum. It was the decisive turning point when things began to go painfully awry. The Steelers narrowly defeated Kansas City in overtime that Monday night, but suffered a far more devastating loss when Ben Roethlisberger injured his shoulder on a takedown by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.
In the aftermath of that fateful evening, the squad has been mired in a losing stretch so foreign to fans it feels filthy. Since November 12, 2012, the Steelers have gone 2-13 (including exhibition), which includes a 1-7 regular-season record in games started by Big Ben.
Disappointing? Yes, to say the least.
So, where does the team's current slump rank among the most disappointing seasons in Steelers history? Let's continue our journey through time, looking back at the team's five most disappointing campaigns.