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Why Pittsburgh will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in 2016-17

John MacLean

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With Super Bowl 50 in the books, the 2016-17 season is right around the corner and the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to be this year’s Super Bowl Champions and dethrone the usual AFC juggernaut New England Patriots.

The Steelers’ 2015-16 NFL Season ended in heartbreak when their fourth string running back fumbled the ball and allowed the soon-to-be Super bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos to regain momentum, score a touchdown, and survive to beat the Steelers 23-16 in the AFC Divisional Game. The Steelers had to use their fourth string running back due to injury at the position. Star running back Le’Veon Bell (Torn LCL/MCL) and veteran running back Deangelo Williams (Foot) were among the other players who were unable to play due to injury. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers Quarterback, played through a torn right shoulder.

Antonio Brown in 2015

If everyone is okay heading into the Playoffs next season and health is not an issue, than the Steelers are primed to hoist what would be their seventh Lombardi Trophy. Reasons being, they have the leagues number one offense, they have superior coaching to get it done, and they have the veteran presence of players who have been to the Super bowl, as well as the leadership to take them to one.

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently tout one of the NFL’s best offenses, when all players are healthy. The only other offense that rivals the Steelers is the Patriots. However, it is hard to disagree with the case the Steelers make because they have an elite quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who’s veteran presence impacts everyone on the team in a positive way. Add that to having the league’s best running back, Le’Veon Bell, and wide receiver, in Antonio Brown, and a solid offense line with All-Pro Center Maurkice Pouncey, and you have one of the most dynamic offenses since the greatest show on turf.

The off season has made the New England Patriots’ offense deadlier with the addition of Martellus Bennett and the loss of Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant due to his second violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. However, the Steelers’ run game along with the solid o-line, both of which the Partriots lack, make the Steelers that much more dangerous.

There is a lot of hate directed towards the coaching staff of Pittsburgh. A lot of that hate is from Steelers and football fans alike. This hatred is directed towards Mike Tomlin, the Steelers Head Coach. Maybe it’s from the legacy of great Steelers’ coaches, like Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher, that fans from Pittsburgh are accustomed to having. However, Coach Tomlin is doing an exceptional job at the position and is a major key to the Steelers’ recent success. Tomlin is the youngest Head Coach to have ever won a Super Bowl which is pretty impressive at the age of 34. He has made great contributions to the Pittsburgh program.

A lot of potential to become a great coach is there and he can certainly prove that this season by taking his team to the Super Bowl. Tomlin’s winning percentage sits at .639 (92 wins and 52 losses) during his 9 season tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Which is actually better than the likes of Hall of Fame coaches such as Tom Landry and Bill Walsh. He is the true definition of a players coach; one who can get the team fired up in an instant and makes some of the gutsiest calls that either make or break important games.

James Harrison at Practice

When the Playoffs start in the NFL, it is key to have a strong veteran presence on the field that knows what it is like to play in high intensity games and to make the right call in tough situations. Veterans must also show leadership and guide their younger players on the field. That is why veteran leadership is key and why Ben Roethlisberger on Offense and James Harrison on Defense will make a huge impact on the other players.

James Harrison is one tough man. He is the true definition of a “workout warrior” who decided to come out of retirement to play for the black and gold one more time. James Harrison is 37 years old and turns 38 this upcoming May. His dedication in the gym and on the field is what makes him a true leader. His fellow line backing core looks up to him as he has the most experience as well as the most heart for the game of football. If he is not on the field, he is in the training facility benching close to 500 lbs.

The biggest rival in the AFC that could inevitably derail the Steelers Super Bowl hopes will be the New England Patriots. Their last meeting was closely decided by seven points, which could change on any given Sunday. The Steelers kicker Josh Scobee also shanked two make-able field goals from just above the 40 yard mark. Now that Scobee is gone and the team is at full strength, the Steelers are looking to be the new juggernaut in the AFC. The game will most likely come down to home field advantage. Do not be surprised if next year, in early February, the Steelers bring the Lombardi back to the Steel City, where it will be displayed for the world to see a record setting seventh time in the history of the NFL.

 

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Why Pittsburgh will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in 2016-17