The Quest For Seven

Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Jordan DeFigio, @fidgenewton
SteelerNation.com

There’s a ball team that’s sure all that shines is black and gold, and they’re chasing the stairway to seven.

They’re fierce ’cause they know that their window’s almost closed, but with grit they can get what they came for.

They’re chasing the stairway to seven.

The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ quest for their seventh Lombardi Trophy begins on the road this coming Monday, September 14th against the New York Giants. Though they have the pieces to compete, the road ahead is a long one. Regardless of the strength of schedule (ranked second easiest in the league), if you ask any football player they’ll tell you; it’s damn hard to win a game in the NFL. And I’d be willing to bet it’s even harder with so many factors at play.

Coronavirus.

No fans in attendance.

Franchise quarterback returning from injury.

Contract year for multiple players on the cusp.

Even the good changes are still that – changes. And with all change comes adjustment. Following one of the more bizarre off-seasons in league history, the players had to go without rookie camp, OTA’s, and preseason games all while making their way through a modified training camp.

The Steelers know that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, while healthy, is older than he’s ever been. Duh. He knows that too, and said as much in a press conference with media members several weeks ago. His arm feels better than it has in years. But he isn’t getting younger. And the guy’s body has taken a beating over the course of his 17 year career. He wants to bring more Lombardis back to Pittsburgh. Yeah, plural. He made sure we knew he meant it. And if that’s his goal, it’s a race against the clock.

The Steelers know they can’t possibly re-sign every single player due to become free agents at the end of this season. There just isn’t enough room in the salary cap to work with to keep James ConnerJuJu Smith-SchusterBud Dupree (to name a few) – especially not after coming off of Dupree’s phenomenal 2019 season, and especially not if either Conner or Smith-Schuster or both were to stay healthy and have a bounce-back year that puts a price tag on them that is beyond what the team can work with.

The Steelers know that they have one opportunity to win with this team. It’s this year. And the question is not whether they can. It’s whether they will.

Luckily, for all the change the team has experienced and has yet to face, they are not alone. For the most part, every other team was dealt a similar hand. Every other team has had to navigate some change.

So what do I think? What do I see happening with the greatest franchise in the NFL?

Well, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Because I think we’re all going to be thrown for a loop with the outcome of this season. When the calendar lands on February 7th, 2021 and we’re all preparing to watch Super Bowl LV, I have a hunch it will look a lot different than any of us could predict.

For me, I think that means the Steelers are there.

They have too much to lose. Too much to prove. Too many guys too hungry to win. And too many people counting them out. Myself included. Just because I DON’T think they’re going to be in the Super Bowl is precisely why I DO think they’re going to be in the Super Bowl. I think they’ll go 11-5, play a wildcard game, a divisional game, then the AFC Championship to make it to Tampa.

We know the implications of this season. They know it too.

And I think this is the year they climb that stairway to seven.

#SteelerNation

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