For those of you that follow the Pittsburgh Steelers closely you probably realize by now that team president Art Rooney II didn\’t drop any earth shattering nuggets on Wednesday when he gave his year-end interviews to the members of the Pittsburgh media. In fact, this was probably one of the worst question and answer sessions we have seen following a season in several years as no real hints were given in relation to their own priority free agents that they want to re-sign and things of the sort.
Rooney did, however, have one interesting quote while dismissing fans\’ complaints that centered around the team not being disciplined enough in 2012.
“If I had to point to one thing that was a concern,” Rooney said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “it was our (minus-10) turnover ratio.”
The Steelers president also said in so many words that teams with a negative turnover differential are usually not in the playoffs.
“If you look at the playoffs, teams that are on the negative side of the turnover ratio are not in the playoffs,” said Rooney, via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “Really, it is simple as that. … I. think focus is probably part of it. But it is hard to say.”
Earth shattering? No. Simplistic and on point? Yes.
As many of you already know, I love tracking the TOX stat. It is a stat that tracks both explosive play and turnover differentials for each and every game in the league throughout the season. Teams that have a plus two TOX stat in a game won roughly 80% of the time. Half of that stat is of course turnovers and we have all heard several times over the years how important it is to win the turnover battle in a game.
Below is a year-by-year look at the Steelers turnover differential dating back to 1993. In 14 of those years the Steelers had an even or positive turnover differential and made the playoffs 12 times. The 6 times that they ended the season with a negative turnover differential they made the playoffs only once and that of course was just one year ago as they were a Wild Card team with a -13 differential. That should probably be considered an abnormality, don\’t you think?
3 out of the past 4 seasons the Steelers have had a negative turnover differential and it is obvious that this has to turnaround next season. When the Steelers are getting turnovers it is usually a result of them getting pressure on the opposing quarterback and we certainly haven\’t seen that consistently over the course of the last two seasons from the outside linebacker position.
The offense is in no way off the hook as they have to do a better job at holding up their end of the differential as well. In 2012 they had 30 total giveaways which is the most dating back to the 2006 season. Their 16 total fumbles is the most the team has had in 20 years, and both the running backs and wide receivers share blame in that. Because of that, you can certainly see why both Scottie Montgomery or Kirby Wilson might very well be walking around on eggshells down on the Southside right now.
In closing, there are certainly many other reasons as to why the Steelers finished 8-8 in 2012, but it is easy to see why Rooney is so focused in on just the turnover differential.
|1993||24||14||38||12||15||27||11||9||7||0||AFC Wild Card|
|1994||17||14||31||9||8||17||14||12||4||0||AFC Central Champs|
|1995||22||12||34||21||13||34||0||11||5||0||AFC Central Champs|
|1996||23||17||40||19||14||33||7||10||6||0||AFC Central Champs|
|1997||20||13||33||19||14||33||0||11||5||0||AFC Wild Card|
|2001||16||12||28||12||9||21||7||13||3||0||AFC Central Champs|
|2002||19||17||36||22||14||36||0||10||5||1||AFC North Champs|
|2004||19||13||32||13||8||21||11||15||1||0||AFC North Champs|
|2005||15||15||30||14||9||23||7||11||5||0||AFC Wild Card|
|2007||11||14||25||14||8||22||3||10||6||0||AFC North Champs|
|2008||20||9||29||15||10||25||4||12||4||0||AFC North Champs|
|2010||21||14||35||9||9||18||17||12||4||0||AFC North Champs|
|2011||11||4||15||15||13||28||-13||12||4||0||AFC Wild Card|