Pittsburgh Steelers: 10 Reasons To Be Optimistic About Their Future

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IFebruary 7, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers: 10 Reasons To Be Optimistic About Their Future

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers came up one game short of winning their third Super Bowl in the last decade, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost.

    Unlike some other teams, who get a narrow window of opportunity to win the big game before another rebuilding phase sets in, the Steelers are set for the long haul. There are several reasons for this, and while a lot of Steelers fans may be feeling down today, the truth is you can't win it every time, and this year was the Packers turn.

    But I'm here to help because there are plenty of reasons why Steelers fans already should be getting excited for 2011, and we've got the Top 10 for you now.

10. Willie Colon

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    Offensive lineman Willie Colon tore his Achilles tendon prior to the 2010 season. He should be done rehabbing that injury and be ready to go for the 2011 season.

    Along with Maurkice Pouncey, Colon can help solidify an offensive line that was very shaky at times during the 2010 campaign.

9. The Defense Is Intact

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    Troy Polamalu isn't ready to retire yet, and James Harrison still will be patrolling the field in 2011. The core of the Steelers defense is intact going into 2011, so along with Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton and Ziggy Hood, Steelers fans can rest easy knowing that defense will be as strong as ever in 2011.

8. Emmanuel Sanders

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    Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders are the Steelers two young stud receivers. Even if Hines Ward callas it a career, these two guys are the next generation of great Pittsburgh receivers.

    Expect their jerseys to start flying off the racks next year.

7. Maurkice Pouncey

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    Everyone knows how good Maurkice Pouncey was in 2010. Keep in mind this was his rookie season.

    So imagine how good this guy is going to be with a year of experience under his belt.

    Yeah, that's scary for the rest of the AFC North.

6. The AFC North Still Is a Two-Horse Division

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    The Browns are beginning their fifth rebuild in 12 years and the Bengals still are being coached by Marvin Lewis.

    The Steelers only competition in the division is the Baltimore Ravens.

5. Mike Tomlin

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    Mike Tomlin is proof the Pittsburgh front office continues to make good decisions. Tomlin knows when to tinker and he knows when to leave things alone.

    Tomlin's wise hand on the driver's wheel has kept the Steelers in contention since taking over for Bill Cowher.

    There are a lot of other coaches who could've destroyed the team by now, but Tomlin has kept the Steelers playing at a high level.

4. Rashard Mendenhall

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    The Steelers know that you win a lot of games in the AFC North on the ground, especially late in the year, so having Rashard Mendenhall in the backfield certainly is something to feel better about as the 2011 offseason begins.

3. Ben Roethlisberger

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    Ben Roethlisberger still is one of the best quarterbacks in the business. The fact anyone is surprised he didn't get the Steelers in the end zone in the last minute of the game tells you everything you need to know.

    Roethlisberger is one of those quarterbacks who you want to have the ball in the last two minutes of the game and down by six points. Yesterday's failure to score was the aberration, not the norm, and you have to give the Packers defense credit for stopping him.

2. The Draft

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    The NFL Draft is approaching and the Steelers just might end up getting another player with the last name "Pouncey."

    Maurkice has a twin brother, Mike, who stayed in college for 2010. The Steelers probably will do whatever they can to have him playing alongside his brother in 2011.

1. The Front Office

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    The Steelers front office continues to prove why they're a role model organization that every team in the NFL should be imitating.

    This front office rarely makes a mistake or a misstep, and when they do, they've surrounded the rare bad move with so many good moves that none of their screwups doom a season.

    The Steelers front office will keep the Steelers in postseason contention in 2011 and for the foreseeable future. There will be the occasional rebuilding year, but unless things collapse at the top, the Steelers will get their seventh Super Bowl before too much longer.