Just because a player has a great history with a franchise doesn’t necessarily mean that they will always have something positive to say about their beloved team. Pittsburgh Steelers great Jerome Bettis said on the “Dave Dameshek Football Program” that the status of the Steelers for the 2013 season is uncertain.
Bettis said, “the question mark in the division is the Steelers.”
“How will they perform? Will they be able to run the football? Will the defense be able to stay intact? They’ve got some questions that need to be answered. So right now, if I had to step out of my body and give a prediction, I’d say the edge goes to Cincinnati, then Baltimore, then Pittsburgh, then Cleveland.”
Bettis continued to say that Pittsburgh “still have to learn how to win,” and that the team doesn’t “know how to win a big game.” Furthermore, the future Hall of Famer believes that the Steelers didn’t do enough to build upon last season.
After hearing what Bettis said about his former team, I agree with some of the things that he mentioned, but disagree with the others. I do believe, at this point, the Cincinnati Bengals are in the best position to be atop the division. I say this only because the Bengals are the only team in the division that has stayed intact.
The Baltimore Ravens do have quarterback Joe Flacco leading their team now, but they did lose the heart and soul of their franchise with the departures of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. As for the Cleveland Browns, they still have a lot of work to do.
Pittsburgh did make some moves this offseason to make their team younger and stronger, but only time will tell just how effective those additions will be for the team. I believe that is the “question mark” that Bettis is referring to. What I don’t agree with is Bettis saying that the Steelers did the least to improve for next season.
Looking at the circumstances, Pittsburgh had to face with their salary cap, I feel the organization did the best that they could with what they had. In addition, the Steelers had arguably the best draft of any team in the league this year, with potentially three rookies set to make huge impacts early in the season.
I can’t see Pittsburgh finishing third in the division two years in a row, especially if the team stays healthy virtually for the whole season. At worst, the Steelers could finish second in the AFC North and enter the postseason as a wildcard.
Let’s not forget that Pittsburgh’s three divisional losses in 2012 were by a total of 12 points. Furthermore, they almost beat the eventual Super Bowl champions twice without their franchise quarterback.
Mr. Bettis, you have to give the Steel City a little more credit than that.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+