Can the Steelers follow the Eagles path? That depends on Kenny Pickett
Also how well they handle their offseason.
The popular consensus among Pittsburgh Steelers fans right now is that despite their 9-8 record they are still significantly behind the top Super Bowl contenders in the NFL. The idea of them being back in the Super Bowl at any time in the next few years seems to be more of a joke than anything even somewhat realistic.
I get the pessimism.
The Steelers have not won a playoff game since 2016, and their most recent playoff showings have been bad, to say the least. That gets frustrating. They have been a good regular season team, and nothing more. And while I will certainly agree that the 2022 version of the Steelers was in no way a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and that they were probably going to get wiped out easily by Buffalo or Kansas City in a potential playoff matchup, I hate the idea of making definitive statements about NFL teams when it comes to the near future.
Things can change RAPIDLY in the NFL, and every team is really only one offseason away from being good (or bad).
Every year there is a team that goes from the bottom of the standings to the playoffs.
Hell, we just saw the Jacksonville Jaguars go from 3-14 to winning the AFC South and winning a Wild Card game.
We are also about to watch a team in the Super Bowl — the Philadelphia Eagles — that is not that far removed from being where the Steelers are right now.
Two years ago the Eagles won four games, and then started the 2021 season with a 3-6 record before finishing with a 6-2 record to go 9-8, sneak into the playoffs, and then get humiliated by a far superior Tampa Bay team.
Do you think there were a lot of people in Philadelphia — or the NFL in general — that was looking at them two years ago, or when they were 3-6 a year ago, as a Super Bowl team just one year later? I am not going to say NOBODY saw their turnaround coming, but they were not exactly a hot team to pick early in 2021. But Jalen Hurts took a massive step forward as a quarterback, they took advantage of his cheap contract and loaded up the roster around, and utilized multiple first-round picks to get Hurts a proven go-to wide receiver in A.J. Brown.
There are some similarities here and the path is one the Steelers might be able to duplicate.
But it is going to take some creativity, a lot of luck, and one very necessary element: Kenny Pickett has to be good.
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