2017 Offseason Questions: What Will You Remember Most From Steelers’ Season?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: What will you remember most about the Steelers’ 2016 season?

If you look at it from the perspective of how far they were able to go, then the Steelers objectively had their best season in six years since they reached the Super Bowl in 2010. Reaching the AFC Championship game is no small feat, even if they came up quite small in that game and lost in fairly spectacular fashion.

The year really turned out to be a rollercoaster of highs and lows, even from game to game. There are two excellent examples of that fact from just within the same game. The Steelers scored a go-ahead touchdown on a fake spike against the Cowboys, only to see Dallas come back and put a touchdown on them.

Several weeks later, the Ravens did the same thing to the Steelers, but this time they were the spoil-sports, dethroning Baltimore with a nearly last-second touchdown from four yards out that has been unofficially coined the Immaculate Extension—the play that won the division.

It would probably be difficult to top that moment in terms of memorability, but everybody is different, and there were certainly lots of memorable moments during the year. There were multiple record-breaking performances from Le’Veon Bell alone that would make worthy candidates. James Harrison setting the franchise record in sacks was a bigger deal than it seemed at the time.

The impressive early season win against the Chiefs was a memorable one in my mind, as the most complete game that the team played all year. Antonio Brown’s pair of 50-plus-yard touchdowns to start off the playoffs in the first seven minutes of the game are a nice memory.

Others are not so nice, such as Martavis Bryant’s suspension. Then there was Joey Porter’s arrest, Ben Roethlisberger’s knee injury, the four-game losing streak, the Patriots’ trouncing of the Steelers in the conference finals…

Put simply, there was a lot going on this year, for better or worse. You can even throw in the draft here, or free agency—goodness knows everybody has an opinion on Ladarius Green. But above all, I want to know: what will you remember most about the 2016 season when all is said and done?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Jason Vancil

    The struggle to find a consistent 2nd WR.

    The improvement of the 3 rookie starters
    AB’s Christmas miracle.

  • falconsaftey43

    Bell’s performance down the stretch. Don’t think I’ve seen a RB have that dominant of a performance for the Steelers.

  • RickM

    The team’s season shouldn’t be defined by the last game. But the continued frustration against the Patriots is tough to shake as the #1 memory. The play by the three rookies is a close second.

  • colingrant

    The jelling of a core unit whose reconstruction from the Hines,Smith, Snack, Farrior, Kiesel,Foote, Ike, Troy, Heath era is near complete. The new team came of age this year in my opinion. The leaders from the past era are now solidly replaced by the entire offensive line, Shazier, Tuitt, Heyward, Mike Mitchell, etc. as team leaders, with a new layer of leaders being added each year. Multiple layers of leadership gets trophies provided the talent is in place. Without it, teams are just good, but may not win it all.

    Two years ago, the Steelers lose in the first round to the Ravens. Last year they win one and lose the 2nd playoff game. This year they win 2 and lose the third. They’re on schedule, but this past year they came together, which is realized after experiencing some adversity and/or there backs were against the wall. It’s not that they experienced it, it’s that leadership from the coaches and the players pulled them out of it. Young players will have played in 6 playoff games over the last 2-3 years. There path is atypical of budding champions.

  • Jeff Anoble

    Would have to second that opinion. That is the thing I will remember most. Just being beaten that badly and having no answers on defense. Made me wonder how far away are we really to another Super Bowl win without a wholesale philosophy change on defense and a fierce pass rush? A point noting too is Brady finally was able to withstand massive abuse in the pocket in the Super Bowl and not let it affect him as it did last year against the Broncos and the 2 super bowls against the Giants. Bottom line is the super bowl goes through New England.

  • Nolrog

    What will I remember most? Even though we made some good progress on the defense, we are still light years away from being able to compete with NE.

  • cencalsteeler

    Another year of wasted opportunity.

  • RickM

    Yes, regrettably it still does.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Getting embarrassed by the pats once again. It was a good season, but when it ends in that fashion, everything else is overshadowed.

  • Justin B

    I scrolled down to say pretty much exactly what you said. There is a lot of promise for the future, but I cannot shake the feeling that the Patriots are on another level.

  • Jimbo

    The Weak Secondary that couldn’t run man to man coverage. Until they can beat brady with man to man coverage or brady is injured Its just going through the motions.

  • nikgreene

    I tend to remember the bitter end of most seasons, and the Patriots loss was a hard one, but instead I’m trying to dwell on Bell’s dominance the last half of the season. It seems as though there is a lot of pessimism here about the prospects of beating the Patriots in the near future, but if Pittsburgh’s defense continues to make strides, and Bryant (or someone) can step into the 2nd WR role, the Steelers will be a force next season. I’m looking forward to it.

  • RickM

    Yes, they just don’t seem to want to come back to the field. Who would have thought that we would have to put up with Brady into his 40’s. It is what it is, but it’s bad luck.

  • will

    AB’s locker room video.

  • francesco

    A couple of things:
    Steelers refusal to blitz until they had to and then refused to blitz against the Patriots when every expert analyst said that is the only way to stop Brady.
    Picking up Gilbert for no reason except to lose a 6th round draft pick. Boykin project all over again.

  • ThatGuy

    Top 4: Xmas Day game, just how unstoppable Bell is behind our OL, the improvements of our D, the KC playoff game (just for how intense it was). Don’t want to dwell on negatives even though those negatives will (hopefully) make us better.

  • LucasY59

    I’m going to try and remember a positive part of the season and that will be the win against the Ratbirds

  • Well, from this past season, I’ll take away the fact that when this group of players is down, and seemingly out, they can muster-up a way to get it done.

    During the regular season, we came back when we needed to. Even looking as mediocre as we did at times earlier in the season, we still ran the table and finished with a very respectable record. Heck, we made it to the AFC Championship Game! Our offensive line protected Big Ben better than he’s been protected in years, and they opened up holes for Le’Veon Bell so he could have another record-breaking year. Our rookies played like they were in the league for a couple of seasons already, and older players like Harrison and Timmons proved they still have plenty of fuel left in their tanks.

    Next season should be better for us, and hopefully, Martavis Bryant and Cameron Heyward will be back at full-swing.

    Let’s not forget we have a place kicker in Boswell who’s now also a record-breaker.

    If we have to face New England again next season, hopefully we can get over THAT hump. Playing against New England and having injuries to key players seems to be our Achilles’ Heal. With Martavis Bryant back, maybe we can manage to beat those a-s-s-holes when it counts. (Hey, if our head coach can say it, so can I.)

    Note to A.B.:

    Please leave your friggin’ cell phone at home! You already have enough money. You don’t need anymore of it from facebook.

  • Mark

    1. New England, Cowboy, and Bmore (2nd) games.
    2. Ben’s inconsistency at this stage of his career
    3. Inability to play tight man to man coverage
    4. Poor run defense during 4 game losing streak
    5. Injuries to LeVeon, Heyward, and Coates
    6. Healthy offensive line with few sacks

  • Mark

    Yes it does and we get another regular season crack at them. We will see how much Butler can improve. ATL had them dead to right and all it took was a field goal. The offensive play calling after the Julio catch was atrocious at best.

  • Mark

    Amen, u play man to man your whole life as a kid and now all of the sudden we can’t stop 1 pass. Our zone coverage concepts are 1970 at best.

  • WeWantDaTruth

    I’ll remember it as a fairly successful season, with a disappointing ending. I also remember the lack of situational awareness around play calling. For example, Landry Jones coming off the bench in Miami and on his first play, throwing a pass on 3rd & 1 rather than handing off to #26. I’ll remember the silly bombs on 3rd & 1. I’ll remember that the QB sneak is apparently not in the playbook. I’ll remember the silly Facebook live Antonio Brown did, but also how silly was it of Tomlin to make his comments not realizing that possibly the “tape was rolling”. Just a lot of “dumb” mistakes this team seems to make over and over. They are their own worst enemy.

  • dany

    Im sure when I think back on the 2016 season in a few years what I remember most will be that 7 game win streak and 2 playoff wins to end the year. I had not been so excited and into steelers football since 2008. Yes not even 2010 brought that kind of excitement. It will be hard to pull off something like that again, dare I say it, even if they win the super bowl next year

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Highlight: Spending xmas at Heinz Field with AB’s stretch TD to win.
    Lowlight: The stink still lingering from the turd laid in Boston.

    Overall: met th standard: in the playoffs.

  • Extension was a great memory. AFCCG sticks out in my mind like a sour thumb though. Everyone knew what not to do against New England. And we did It anyway. I’d rather fail at trying something differently than fail the same damn way every damn time. Every time I think of the Christmas game, the AFCCG will shortly follow. Still proud of my team though don’t get me wrong, just the way it is

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I thought he turtled pretty readily when they did finally get their hands on him. But getting schooled by him, along with many drops by receivers is what I will remembers.

  • They played man in the 70s

  • Romans5:8

    What I will remember most is the AFC Championship Game. We were completely outclassed in that game both offensively and defensively. For me, it was the most embarrassing playoff loss in Steeler history. We had no business being on the field with the Patriots that day.

  • James Rogers

    Well, you beat me to it. One of these years, maybe we’ll figure out how to beat NE, otherwise no more SB appearances for a while, unless some other team beats NE for us.

  • Grant Russell

    the embarrassment of the AFC final, they were much closer in their playoff game last year against the Broncos, without Bell or Brown and Denver went on to win, can we really get get that badly outcoached, but I guess the saving grace is we get to stay in the NFL unlike the Falcons who should be relegated to the CFL after the Superbowl performance against the hated Patriots.

  • WreckIess

    Without a doubt it has to be the 9 game win streak. The team went from the brink of elimination to playing some of the best ball I’d seen them play in some years. Older players buckled down and younger players started to come into their own.

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    The shortcomings of The offense!

  • SteelerFanInMD

    The last game is the one I will remember the most about this season. The Steelers had a good year, won two playoff games and are regarded as perhaps the second best team in the AFC. But all those positives are negated by the way they lost to the Patriots. They have quite a bit of work to do to be competitive with the Patriots and get to the Superbowl.

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  • Jason

    every time I say the 9 game winning streak, my mind counters with how much optimism there was going into the NE game and how bad that ended up.
    AB has the single memorable moment, but the most memorable feeling was the WTF from the NE game

  • Conserv_58

    The one thing I will remember most is how, once again, the Steelers were out classed, out played, and out coached by the patriots. The nine game win streak was nice, but to, once again, come out and lay an egg against a team that has owned them since Brady became their starting QB makes their 2016 season an exercise in futility.

  • Conserv_58

    IMO, players aside, the coaching staff had better watch replays of the AFCCG and figure out how and why they were beaten so thoroughly and completely embarrassed by the patriots, AGAIN! I don’t know. Perhaps coming to the obvious conclusion that to enter that game with the same defensive game plan that has yet to work against them would be a very good start. I’m sure Brady was licking his chops when he saw the Steelers defense was in zone coverage, a scheme that everyone, but Butler, knew Brady would methodically destroy.

  • Conserv_58

    Injuries to Wheaton, Coates and Green, a season long suspension of Bryant and sub par tight ends did play a large part in their short comings. That also includes the final few games when, Ben was throwing one or two interceptions per game.

    Let’s not forget how poorly the ST’s units played too.

  • Conserv_58

    Please, their 2010 season was monumentally better because not only did they win the Super Bowl they were the first team to brake a long standing record in their quest to do so. They were a sixth seed going into the playoffs and for them to go on and win the Super Bowl, when no other team before them had ever done that as a sixth seed, was absolutely a better season than 2016 was. For me, 2016 ended up being a, “woulda, shoulda, coulda” season. The words, ” Big Disappointment” best decribe 2016.

  • dany

    ? 2010 they were the 2nd seed. Are you confusing 2010 with 05??

    05 was most definitely better than 16 and 08 and 10 yeah. I was a bit too young though, at the moment, to understand its greatness. But like I said I think you’re confusing my statement with 2005

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    I agree with you about offense, but Special Teams is More of a constant than something from 2016

  • Michael Mosgrove