The Pittsburgh Steelers have walked a strange path so far this season. They started with a victory over their 2008 nemesis, the Titans of Tennessee.
For the second week in a row the Steelers’ defense dominated a game only to yield the game winning score with only seconds remaining. And, for the second week in a row, the offense looked productive in the first half only to sputter in the second.
The Steelers had to have their kicker uncharacteristically miss two field goals, have Big Ben toss a horrific interception and give up two late scoring drives to lose that game. Any two of those would be unusual enough but to have all three coincide on the road against a solid football team is rare.
Everyone remembers the schedule for last season. The toughest doled out in decades, some said. Fact is, it was the NFL’s toughest last season; opponents had a combined record of 153-103 (.598) with half the games against 2007 playoff teams and twelve against teams with .500 or better records the prior season. Yes, it was a real murderer’s row of thugs and low-lifes, plus several teams not named the Ravens.
So, what is this thing, a Superbowl slump? Most would agree that it’s a down year after appearing in the Superbowl. That’s easy. But how down does that year have to be? Is it good enough to miss the playoffs or is a losing record required? Does one need to pick in the top five of the following draft?