The Super Bowl is over. The disappointment subsided. No more tears, even if that is solely because it's become physically impossible to produce any more. The 2010 season is officially behind us.
That doesn't mean football is over. The offseason has just begun.
Plenty of people suggest the team should sign a specific player or address a certain position.
A lot of those suggestions have merit. While the specifics are important, a general plan heading into the offseason is equally so. Improvement during the offseason is paramount but the team can not forget the model created to build such a successful franchise.
As many others have noted, the Steelers have rarely been big players in free agency.
Rarely do they make a splash and when they do, it's from the low diving board—not the high dive.
One of the specifics mentioned is the need to upgrade the cornerback position.To sign a player such as Nnamdi Asomugha or Jonathan Joseph would be a huge upgrade. Of course, such a signing would come at a hefty price. While it is nice to have a player of that caliber, it is not a necessity.
What has made Dick LeBeau such a valuable coordinator is the philosophy of putting scheme before players. Build a scheme, figure out the "X's and O's," and find players that fit into it.
It isn't about attempting to get the best players at each position. That is more of a luxury than anything else. Doing that for one season is difficult enough; doing so for multiple seasons is nearly impossible. The inevitable misses by the coaching staff and front office become magnified.
Look no further than Dan Snyder in Washington. Ask Redskins fans how they like that approach.
The business model has been constant: Build from the draft and acquire cheap, role players in free agency. Have rookies sit, learn, and then get an opportunity to produce.
Defensively, the scheme has remained the same. Stop the run and run zone blitzes on third and long. In a game that is constantly changing, that has stayed the same. It is a rarity that should be cherished.
The Steelers are an annual Super Bowl contender. One that made it to the big stage just weeks ago. It's true that this is a business that never quits trying to improve, never content with "good enough." However, this is a team that is as consistent as any other in the league. Maybe as much as any franchise in sports.
Where does that consistency stem from?
It starts from the top: The front office and the coaches. When a team is this good and this close to being world champions each year, minor, not major, changes are the way to go.
Major changes have unintended consequences. A change in the business model.
Don't mess with a good thing.