Over the last 11 months we've seen history from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The only problem is none of it has been good. In fact, it's been brutally bad. Embarrassing especially for a team and franchise who, most of the time rightfully so, hoists themselves as a historic, proud, uber successful NFL company. But the last 11 months it has looked dangerously close, and yesterday come to fruition, to being what you feasted on and we as fans punked on for years - one of the basement dwellers in the AFC North who reside in Ohio.
January 10, 2021, you get your ass handed to you after crumbling down the stretch in December for the third year in a row to the friggin' Browns on your home field. 48 points! To the Browns! Which makes me think about the fact that our last best chance to win the Super Bowl was booted off the field by Blake Bortles after giving up 45 points to him at home after having a BYE! Still Keith Butler. Still Coach T. Status quo.
No playoff wins in four years going on five. Status quo.
The 2021 offseason you stick with 39 year old absolutely immobile Big Ben knowing that the offensive line was going to be turned over. It's like making a peanut butter sandwich then throwing some ketchup or mayo on there. That's not going to work. Status quo.
Then in rolls the 2021 season and you get not just beat - but swept - by the Bengals for the first time since 2009, have now lost three straight to them for the first time since 89-90, and oh yeah by a combined score of 65-20. Then to really put the icing on the cake, you give up the most points in a half in franchise history and go into the locker room down 31-3. At halftime. Against the Bengals. That does not happen. That cannot happen.
I've already seen it on Twitter, "Mike Tomlin never had a losing season! Who else do you want?!" Gimme a fat break with that. Again, this is the Steelers. This franchise shouldn't pride itself in just being above the mason dixon line WOOHOOO WE WON ONE MORE GAME THAN WE LOST AND GOT OUR ASS BEAT IN THE PLAYOFFS WOOOOO! That's nonsense. Who gives a shit.
And the blame goes all around. The Rooneys, Colbert for just muddling around the Big Ben, not going all in on spending to fix O-line that you knew was going to be rough, Big Ben for not being able to read the collective room of millions of Steelers fans and realize it's better to not go out the villain because you just couldn't hang them up. The whole upper management for continuing to botch the offensive coordinator hire. Same on them for letting Keith Butler just hang around all the while the defense continues to get absolutely worked despite having All-Pros at all three levels. And Coach T for being the man in charge yet not finding a way to get the best out of his groups over the last five years. Since that AFC championship run when, ya know, the Steelers got their ass handed to them again by the Patriots, there has been quite literally zero postseason success from this team. I don't wanna hear about not having depth. I don't wanna hear about never having a losing season. The main rival across the way in Baltimore dealt with more catastrophic injuries than you can imagine before the season even started yet they find themselves at 8-3 and atop the friggin' AFC.
This isn't change for the sake of change. If that were the case then this would have happened after the 2017 debacle in January against the Jags or the epic collapse down the stretch in 2018. Stayed status quo. The results since? Missed playoffs, December collapse, blowout loss at home to the Browns in the playoffs, now well on the way to that first losing season. So what I'm saying is that at least one of the next three things has to happen after the season. In no particular order:
1. Have to move on from Big Ben. We love 7. Always will be grateful. You can have that in one hand and in the other realize that he isn't a hint of the player he used to be while also not having a roster offensively built to have him being anything more than just OK. it's ok to realize both. The truth of the matter is you aren't going anywhere with him back there and if he is then you're just delaying the inevitable for the sake of nostalgia.
2. Keith Butler has to go. Obvious reasons there.
3. Coach Tomlin has to at the very least get his seat...warm? I mean it's absolutely incredible the shit show this team has been the last five years and everyone just falls back on "well he's never had a losing season".
I watched that game yesterday and all of these hard truths came showering down upon me to ruin a perfectly fine Thanksgiving weekend. Because I realized the Steelers aren't "the Steelers" right now. They're what we've made fun of for years. We cannot accept status quo moving into 2022.