After reading the title of this article, I know many people are saying, “How is winning hurting a football team? Isn’t that the goal — to win football games in the NFL?” For the people that are thinking this is right, yes, winning is the goal of everyone in the NFL. However, if you are the 2013 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the more you win right now, the worse off your team’s future could be.
In Week 16, the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Aaron Rodger-less Green Bay Packers. The Steelers are still fighting, with a very slim glimmer of hope, on making the playoffs as the sixth seed in the AFC. It is a mathematical possibility if Steelers win out and they get help from the San Diego Chargers, the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins, then they could still make the big dance. The Steelers would also have to defeat their turnpike rivals, The Cleveland Browns, in Week 17 to make it.
Yes, Steelers fans, cheer for this season. However, I want you to really think about what you are cheering for. You are cheering and hoping that the Pittsburgh Steelers make the playoffs because “everyone remembers when the Steelers were the sixth seed and went on to win the Super Bowl.” That was a great story, one for the ages. The 2013 Steelers are not those Pittsburgh Steelers. Those Steelers had a much better team than this season’s version of them. Do you really think that the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers could defeat the New England Patriots (who they lost to earlier in the year)? Do you really think their pass defense could hold Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos? Do you really think the Steelers can beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati? Then, say all that happens, do you really think the Steelers could hold any of the top team in the very competitive NFC?
This is a very nice dream, but it is not reality. What is reality is that the Steelers need to rebuild their team. They need a receiver to complement Antonio Brown next season. They also need players to replace an aging secondary next season. How much help do you think the Steelers will get if they land the 25th pick in the draft, let’s say? Not much.
If the Steelers, by some miracle, make the playoffs, wouldn’t that hurt the remaining years that the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has left with the team?
Look, I am not saying do not root for your team every weekend. What I am saying is face the facts. Your team needs some new horses in the stable. You can’t get those top-notch horses by finishing better in this year’s race. A true Steelers fan with the reality of the NFL knows and feels exactly the same way that I do.