By Andrew May |
Historically speaking, everyone thinks of the same thing when they think of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hard nosed football. Ferocious defense. Ground and pound offense. Stern coaching. All of these qualities remained true throughout Bill Cowher’s tenure as head coach. And when the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII, they had that same identity.
But it has since shifted, with the evolution of the league as a whole taking some of the hard hits away, and slowly but surely transitioning into a pass happy league. A lackluster defense paired with an “air-it-out” offensive mentality has turned the Steelers into a different team. And with that different identity came undisciplined play. Countless penalties, brain cramps and horrific losses to bad teams gave the Steelers a new look that did not resonate well with the fanbase, and brought home no more Lombardi trophies.
But this 2018 Steelers team looks revamped, and with that same identity that brought them their league leading six titles. This past Sunday’s thrilling comeback win against the Jacksonville Jaguars conveyed just that. With Pittsburgh compiling less than 100 yards of total offense in the first half, and unable to stop Leonard Fournette on defense, it looked like one of those trap games they often lose. Coming off of a huge performance the previous Thursday with a 52-21 trouncing of the Carolina Panthers. Traveling on the road to face the 3-6 Jaguars who can’t seem to get out of their own way. All signs were pointing towards this being a disgusting Steelers loss.
But, this team is much different than the ones we have seen in years past. They can ground and pound with James Conner. They have a stout defense, who has held their opponents under 300 total yards of offense for four consecutive games. And this identity is the identity that a championship caliber team has. And that is why Steeler Nation around the country has to be ecstatic about what the rest of the season has in store for this group.
Andrew May is a sport management student at York College of Pennsylvania.