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Shocking Trend Shows Steelers AFC North Dreams Will Be Decided Very Early in 2022

Shocking Trend Shows Steelers AFC North Dreams Will Be Decided Very Early in 2022

The Pittsburgh Steelers will open the NFL regular season on the road for the 8th straight season when they face the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. Now the headline of this article may seem like extreme dramatization of a match up between divisional foes, but even if it wasn’t the Bengals or Baltimore Ravens or Cleveland Browns, the Steelers AFC North title hopes have a a trend of being decided in the first game of the regular season.

Mike Tomlin became head coach of the Steelers in 2007 and since then, the Steelers haven’t registered a losing record once. A truly incredible feat given just how hard it is to win in the NFL and how much harder it is to win consistently year over year. While there is no question Tomlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL and a future Hall of Fame inductee, he does have an ugly blemish on his resume he has been unable to get rid of.

YearWeek 1 ResultSeason RecordDivision FinishSeason Result
2021W 23-16 @ BUF9-7-12nd of 4thLost in Wildcard Round
2020W 26-16 @ NYG12-41st of 4thLost in Wildcard Round
2019L 3-33 @ NWE8-82nd of 4thMissed playoffs
2018T (OT) 21-21 @ CLE9-6-12nd of 4thMissed playoffs
2017W 21-18 @ CLE13-31st of 4thLost in Divisional Round
2016W 38-16 @ WAS11-51st of 4thLost in AFC Championship Game
2015L 21-28 @ NWE10-62nd of 4thLost in Divisional Round
2014W 30-27 v CLE11-51st of 4thLost in Wildcard Round
2013L 9-16 v TEN8-82nd of 4thMissed playoffs
2012L 19-31 @ DEN8-83rd of 4thMissed playoffs
2011L 7-35 @ BAL12-42nd of 4thLost in Wildcard Round
2010W (OT) 15-9 v ATL12-41st of 4thLost in the Super Bowl
2009W (OT) 13-10 vs TEN9-73rd of 4thMissed playoffs
2008W 38-17 v HOU12-41st of 4thWon the Super Bowl
2007W 34-7 @ CLE10-61st of 4thLost in Wildcard Round

Now if the trend isn’t clear when looking at the table, in 15 seasons under Tomlin, the Steelers have not won a single division title when not winning the opener. It pains me to have to phrase it as not winning, but unfortunately, the Steelers decided to tie the Browns in 2018, joining 26 other games that resulted in a tie since overtime was introduced in 1974. This isn’t a trend that can be specifically pinpointed on losing to division opponents because the Browns and Ravens have accounted for only 2 of the 6 times Tomlin and company haven’t won, the others being the New England Patriots (twice), Tennessee Titans, and Denver Broncos. While losing the opener doesn’t mean the Steelers are ultimately doomed, they had successful runs in 2011 (12-4) and 2015 (10-6) where they ultimately were defeated by the Broncos in the playoffs. Losing the opener does have a good trend of resulting in the Steelers missing the playoffs (4 out of 6 times) and finishing with a now improbable (stupid ties) .500 record.

Steelers Browns

Cleveland Browns quarterback, Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles against Cam Heyward (97) and the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Cleveland. | AP Photo / Ron Schwane

The Steelers’ season opener trends

The trend of losing the season opener has 100% of the time resulted in not winning the division, and winning it has netted the Steelers the division title 7 out of 9 times. The season following the Super Bowl in 2009 where they missed the playoffs and 2021 where they lost in the Wild Card round, being the only seasons they didn’t win the AFC North. While winning the division isn’t the biggest dream for this team, it is definitely a good start given the Steelers have only reached the Super Bowl when winning the division under Tomlin. It also doesn’t hurt to give SteelerNation bragging rights for the year to hold over some of the intolerable fanbases we all have to deal with.

Now remember, trends aren’t set in stone, there are exceptions to the rule, however you would like to phrase it. With the Steelers in unfamiliar territory entering the season, they would be best off trying to replicate the winning ways or I fear if they lose, they could ultimately add to the losing trend.


What do you think? Drop a comment below on what you think!




  1. Lin Sunseri

    May 23, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    I think you have WAY too much time on your hands!!
    Having said that, interesting article!

  2. Michael Marshall

    May 24, 2022 at 1:28 am

    I’m a 43 Year Season Ticket Holder and I think that you need to look further back in the History of The Steelers. I’m sure that this trend was not the case in the 1970’s, though I could be wrong. Trends are made to be broken, (as are records). One thing about The Pittsburgh Steelers, they don’t follow trends! Heck they’re the only team that only decorates one side of its helmet! We’ll be fine. We went all the way to the Super Bowl Title as a Six Seed!

  3. Israel Pickholtz

    May 24, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    Yes. The Steelers should try to win the opening game. There, I said it.

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