Black and gold put on hold after falling short of playoffs


Ben Roethlisberger walks off the field in disgust after a miscommunication with one of his wide receivers.

Casey Collins, Staff Writer

It’s not uncommon to see the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting atop the AFC North come playoff time. In fact, since the NFL merger in 1970, the Steelers have reached the playoffs 30 times and have won the AFC North division title 22 of those times.

However, this was not the case for the 2018-2019 season. The Steelers finished the season with a record of 9-6-1, leaving them second in their division behind the Baltimore Ravens, and just short of a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.

The black and gold have had some major setbacks and controversy surrounding them throughout the whole season, leaving Steeler Nation questioning where their team will stand through the next couple of years and if this trend is something they should begin to expect.

“I was very surprised the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs because I think they’re one of the best teams in the league. When it came down to it, they didn’t come together and seemed to be focused on other things,” junior Dylan Goodrich said.

Before the season began, Steelers’ All-Pro Running Back, Le’Veon Bell was holding out on practices while negotiating a larger contract after being franchised tagged by Pittsburgh. It is safe to say that Bell has been a huge contributor for the Steelers during his time in the Burgh and knowing he wasn’t happy with his team left fans angry and uneasy.

The Steelers faced off against the Cleveland Browns in the first game of the season who had previously not won a game in 635 days. Despite being without their star running back, their 2017 third round draft pick, James Conner was more than ready to step up and take Bell’s place.

Unfortunately, in a rare occurrence, the Steelers tied the Browns in overtime. It was definitely not the start anyone was expecting for a team with high expectations.

Followed by losses in two of their next three games, the Steelers found themselves with a record of 1-2-1 and they started to see a team black and gold fans are not used to seeing. All the while strengthening Bell’s case that maybe the Steelers do need him and the Franchise should cough up the extra money to get him back with the team.

“For Bell sitting out the year, I figured it would be rough since he had I think the most touches in the NFL the year before,” senior Ethan Paxton said.

Despite the very slow start, the Steelers began to swing the momentum the other way, winning six straight games and restoring hope in Steeler Nation.

However, the Steelers lost their next three games, each by only one score. On Dec. 9, the Steelers went into Oakland to face off against the last placed team, 2-10 Raiders. Pro-bowl kicker, Chris Boswell who had been having a horrible season up to that point, being 10/16 on field goal attempts and missing five extra point attempt, missed two field goals in that game alone, perhaps making him to blame for the loss.

“I think it is very easy to look at the TV and say – I could make that kick – this especially crosses my mind being that I kick. Nobody is perfect but he is being payed big time money,” senior Nicholas DiNardo said.

With so many people to blame, frustration reached its highest among Steelers fans. Following the loss, the Steelers beat the 9-5 New England Patriots by a score of 17-10. Now how is it possible to beat a quarterback like Tom Brady and the reining AFC champions, but lose to an Oakland Raiders team with only two wins? This is one of the many questions the Steelers left their fans wondering this season.

Falling to the New Orleans Saints in week 16 left Pittsburgh with little to no hope of  making playoffs. To earn a spot in the playoffs, first of all, the Steelers had to win their final game and beat the Cincinnati Bengals. On top of that, the Cleveland Browns had to beat the Baltimore Ravens in their final game. The Steelers handled their half, beating the Bengals 16-13 but the Ravens prevailed against the Browns, ending the Steelers hopes of a playoff run.

Steelers’ all-pro superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown sat out the last game of the season due to injury. A report was later released that Brown sat out of the game, not because of an injury, but because of an altercation with a teammate. It was later said that Brown was unhappy with the franchise and had requested a trade.

Nobody knows the status or the thought process of Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell or the Steelers Franchise, which leaves a lot of concern for Steeler Nation.