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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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass late in the game against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    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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    BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  Willie Colon #74 of the Pittsburgh Steelers defends against the  Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers in  Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Mike Wallace #17, Emmanuel Sanders #88, Heath Miller #83 and Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers huddle with teammates against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 01:  Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is interviewed during Super Bowl XLV Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Ba
    Michael Heiman/Getty Images

    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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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Linebacker Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after a play against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty I
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after running for an eight yard touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington,
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Imag
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 30:  Jordan Reed #11 and Mike Pouncey #55 of the Florida Gators celebrate a touchdown during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on October 30, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Im
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    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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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Owner Dan Rooney (L) and Team president Art Rooney II (2ndL) of the Pittsburgh Steelers recieve the Lamar Hunt Trophy as CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz looks on after their 24 to 19 win over the New York Jets in the 2011 AFC Cham
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    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.