The Return of the Steelers

Staff Writer: Blake Hopster

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a top tier team since the 70’s. The Steelers have had 38 winning seasons since 1975. There is no doubt they are a winning team when looking into their stats. Last season they did not do as well and were even involved in some controversy. This season they are the only undefeated team in the NFL, what changed?

The 2019 Steelers season started just like every other season: Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, and his team out on the field ready to score touchdowns. However, in the second game of the season against the Seattle Seahawks, he kept trying to shake out his injured elbow after every throw. Eventually the team realized something was undoubtedly wrong, and they took him out of the game.

Ben Roethlisberger on the turf against the Seattle Seahawks. Photo Credit: Frank Schwab 

Roethlisberger required elbow surgery and was unable to play for the rest of the season. The Steelers, devastated by this, put in Mason Rudolph as backup quarterback to get the team through the rest of the season. Already on their second-string quarterback, the Steelers season was not looking great. Rudolph, through his first few games, was doing okay; however, even his skills began to strain.

In the 11th game of the season, the Steelers faced off against a division rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. With their backup quarterback Mason Rudolph struggling, the Steelers had no choice but to put in an undrafted 3rd string quarterback, Devlin Hodges. Devlin led the Steelers to win that game and to finish the season overall with an 8-8 record.

I asked Woodstock High School teacher Mr. Hightower about his opinion on the 2019 season Steelers, and he had this to say: “They were decent. I am more surprised that their head coach Mike Tomlin was getting a lot of opposition. They were down a lot of players and he still kept them from a losing record.”

Now in 2020, the Steelers are the only undefeated team in the NFL, sitting at 6-0 (update: 8-0 after a 28-24 victory over division rival Baltimore on 11/1). What has changed from last season that has made them so great this season? Well, for one, Roethlisberger is back in the spotlight and healthier than ever. They picked up some great prospects in the NFL draft also, with one of them being rookie Chase Claypool.

Claypool is a 6’4”, 238-pound wide receiver who came from Notre Dame. Claypool combined with star receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, are a combo to be reckoned with. Having star players by Ben’s side and many options for him to throw to is giving the Steelers a menacing edge in the 2020 season.

Rookie Chase Claypool scoring his first touchdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Photo Credit: Curt Popejoy

The Steelers toppled the Tennessee Titans, the only other team that was undefeated prior to facing off against the Steelers. Sports Illustrated recently placed the Steelers at No. 1 most powerful team in the NFL, even beating out the Kansas City Chiefs, who were the Super Bowl Champions last season.

Woodstock High School student Braydon Stansel described the Steelers last season as “mediocre, and not talented yet they somehow were still in the fight for the playoffs.” And this year: “They are a good team, they destroyed the Eagles for sure. Ben Roethlisberger and Chase Claypool are helping the team a lot. They’re great guys.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a dangerous team this year and are certainly Super Bowl contenders. Coming out on top this year would be an amazing comeback for them. From being down and out with their quarterback gone, the Steelers have bounced back into superiority and are prepared to take down their remaining opponents.

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