Finishing 8-8 is not a losing record. In fact, many teams would be happy that their team finished 8-8 and would consider it a sign of improvement or at the very least a bump in the road.
Not the Pittsburgh Steelers, however.
8-8 is unheard of (it would seem).
Even after consecutive 8-8 seasons, Steeler Nation still expects their team to be playing this Sunday.
Which is great. So do I.
The culture of this city is such that having a contending football team is never out of reach.
Players love to play in Pittsburgh—they love the Rooneys, the fans and the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And that tradition is the reason to have hope for the 2014-15 season.
So, what is the tradition?
Defense and running the dang ball!
And boy-oh-boy do the Pittsburgh Steelers have themselves a beauty of a running back in Le’Veon Bell.
He’s not necessarily the prototypical Pittsburgh Steelers running back.
Sure, he’s big—but he’s not Jerome Bettis big.
Yeah, he’s fast—but he’s not Willie Parker fast.
But you know what he can do that very few other running backs in Steelers history (and across the NFL currently) can do?
Mr. Bell can run, catch, block, truck you, juke you and take you out to dinner.
He’s the complete package.
And he’s the main reason to have hope for the 2014-15 season.
Having a running back like Bell can sway the tide of many games.
Running out the clock. Goal-line and short-yardage situations. The screen game. And so forth and so forth.
But there had to have been some other good things to be hopeful for from the turnaround of this past season, right?
Sure. If you look past the stats.
In my opinion, I do not think Dick LeBeau will allow the Pittsburgh Steelers defense to be as awful as it has been the past few seasons.
They will come back with a vengeance and get back to being the Steel Curtain—which is, after all, the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers.