Super Bowl XLV: 7 Reasons Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Won't Win Number 7
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As I sat in cold and windy Heniz Field yesterday, watching the Steelers play the Bengals, I couldn't help but overhear it.
Living in Pittsburgh, I am constantly subject to hearing it and it is one of the most annoying catch phrases I've ever heard: the Pittsburgh Steelers are on the "stairway to seven."
Now, not only is this ripping off one of the greatest songs of all-time, it is also categorically untrue.
Despite the fans and local media of this city being quick to crown this team as Super Bowl XLV Champions, I have to question whether these people are being overly optimistic or just delirious.
They cannot be watching these games with the same eyes that I am. I realize they're 10-3, but this team, quite frankly, WILL NOT make it to Big D this year for the big game.
So yinzers beware, and try to keep an open mind for once when reading this. Here are the seven reasons the Steelers won't win number seven this season.
Big Ben has a broken nose, but he doesn't have what it takes this year
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Yes, I'm aware Ben Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowls.
So how could he possibly be one of the reasons why this team won't win it this year? Ben is simply not the player he was two years ago.
Watch the games, and you'll see him overthrow wide-open receivers more than usual and hold on to the ball too long.
Couple that with his constant injuries and its difficult to imagine him leading this team to another Super Bowl title.
6. Too Easy To Pass
New England has exposed the Steelers' leaky pass defense every time they've played them.
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I'm rarely one to use a lot of numbers, but the Steelers rank 23rd in pass defense.
Their ranking is worse than the lowly Broncos and Bengals.
Even more important than that number, however, is the eye-test. The Steelers' pass defense has more leaks than the New York City tabloids.
Watch them play, and you soon will realize: if you spread them out and they don't get pressure, you will have success. New England has shown us the blueprint time and time again, and despite their current 7-6 records, the Colts and Chargers are teams who can exploit this.
I have a feeling both of these teams will win their divisions, meaning the Steelers and their aforementioned leaky pass defense, will have to get past the likes of Rivers, Manning and Brady to reach the Super Bowl.
I do not see that happening.
5. Identity Crisis
Can the Steelers run the ball effictively enough to win in the Playoffs? No
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The Steelers used to be simple and efficient. They were going to run the ball down your throat, convert third downs on offense and suffocate you on defense.
While the defense has remained elite, the offense has been going through an identity crisis the past two years. This year, they rank 18th in pass offense and 10th in rush offense.
While these rankings aren't overly ominous, they don't inspire confidence that they can consistently run or pass either.
I realize its good to be balanced, but its also necessary to have an identity.
The Patriots, Jets, Saints and Eagles have one. The Steelers don't!
"No coach, James' forearm to the back of the head was not legal"
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No, no, no. The refs are not conspiring against or singling out the Steelers.
The Steelers have players with bad reputations, period. Put yourself in the shoes of an NFL official. When you hear Harrison, Roethlisberger and Ward whine and complain about officiating every week, you may be quick to throw the flag at Harrison for a big hit or hold on to it when Roethlisberger is hit.
Its not a mystery that the Steelers, based on their actions, have a bad reputation and have created a self-fulfilling prophecy: "The refs hate us and are going to make bad calls, so we're going to win despite them".
So the Steelers play with the same physical, often dirty style and get called on it.
In close games, you need every yard you can get, and come playoff time, the Steelers will suffer too many penalty yards against the wrong team.
3. A Porous Offensive Line
Injuries to an already suspect line will doom the Steelers.
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This is the obvious one.
The Steelers line has been suspect for the majority of the past several years, and this year it seems to be even worse. Inconsistency, confusion and injuries are not three words you want to have associated with your offensive line.
Yet, their line is extremely inconsistent from game to game, constantly looks confused on zone blitzes and has suffered several injuries this year.
In addition to injuries to the line, Roethlisberger has suffered injuries to his foot and nose because of them.
His offensive line has made him look like a tackling dummy in several games this season and you have to wonder if he is one protection breakdown away from suffering a more costly injury.
Simply put, this offensive line is too much of a liability for this team to advance far in the playoffs.
2. Superior Teams
Let's not forgot about the defending champs.
This is the one that those delirious Steeler fans out there don't want to hear, but the Steelers just aren't one of the best teams in the NFL.
The Patriots, Saints and Ravens have already beaten them this year. Yes, the Steelers also beat the Ravens, but the Ravens gave that game away.
The Pittsburgh-Baltimore argument aside, New England and New Orleans absolutely destroyed them and I would take still take a handful of other teams (Jets, Colts, Chargers) over them in the playoffs.
Look at their wins this season. Their opening week overtime win over Atlanta, and their gift-wrapped win over Baltimore are the only quality wins this team has.
They may finish 12-4, but I'll still take a more battle-tested 10-6 Colts team over them in the AFC playoffs, even at Heinz Field.
1. The Brady Bunch
Tom Brady has owned the Steelers and don't expect that to change if they meet again in the playoffs.
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Tom Brady owns the Steelers.
He owns them in the regular season and he owns them in the playoffs. He owns them at home and owns them on the road. There's not an argument you can make against it.
Brady has been defeated by the Steelers only once in his career, and that loss was avenged in the playoffs the same year.
Brady hasn't just beaten the Steelers, he's destroyed them, often in big games. Brady is 6-1 against the Steelers, with two of those wins coming in AFC Championship games at Pittsburgh.
His career passer rating against the Steelers hovers around 100.
Simply put, even if the Steelers can overcome my previous six arguments against them winning the Super Bowl, they can't avoid this one.
New England is on a tear and they are not going to lose at home.
They are not going to lose to the Colts, not going to lose to the Jets, and certainly not going to lose to the Steelers.