The Pittsburgh Steelers just struck a blow to their 2014 Draft stock by busting out their third win in nine attempts yesterday against the Buffalo Bills. Did you really expect the Steelers to do anything different?
I sincerely hope that nobody actually thought that Pittsburgh would fold on this season just because their playoff hopes halfway through the year look pretty bleak.
Granted, they were still in the running in 2009, but after suffering five straight losses to fall to 6-7, they rattled off three consecutive victories to finish with a winning record. And they still managed to get Maurkice Pouncey, Jason Worilds, Emmanuel Sanders, Jonathan Dwyer, and Antonio Brown.
They didn’t even give up last year when they were playing for nothing in the final week of the season, coming out victorious over the Cleveland Browns, and hurting their draft stock. While it’s still early, the immediate returns on investment on players such as Jarvis Jones, Le’Veon Bell, Markus Wheaton, and Shamarko Thomas are trending in the positive direction, with all four possibly future starters.
For all the bluster and cliché that may be associated with the notion of the ‘Steelers Way’, there is no question that Pittsburgh has a proud locker room that voluntarily binds itself to the tradition of the players that came before the current generation.
That is why players like Jones and David DeCastro considered it an honor and were proud to take the numbers of past Steelers greats as Greg Lloyd and Alan Faneca.
As Tunch Ilkin says, things are cliché because they’re true. It may sound hollow when you start off a season 0-4, but the standard is still the standard. The results may vary, but the standard to which the team holds itself, and the players hold themselves, remain the same, even if they fail to live up to it.
That is why the Steelers will never be a team that gives up on a season for the sake of a better draft position the following April. As long as the roots of the organization remain firm, they will never ‘Suck for Luck’.
This is not a rah-rah, rally around the team article. It’s not even a “these are your Pittsburgh Steelers” piece.
This is simply an explanation; this is why it would be foolish to ever expect a Steelers team led by the Rooney family and such individuals as Mike Tomlin, Dick LeBeau, and Kevin Colbert to fold on a season. It simply isn’t in their DNA. Call it systemic arrogance if you so choose. It is what drives them to succeed no matter how they might fail.