Few franchises can say they’re coming off a bit of a down stretch after going 13-3 in 2017 and 9-6-1 in 2018. However, the standards are high for a Pittsburgh Steelers club that hasn’t had a losing season since 2003.
Despite the great record in 2017, the Steelers were one-and-done in the playoffs, and last year the club missed the playoffs despite a winning mark.
The team also endured a season-long holdout by All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell and an offseason trade of disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown to Oakland.
Despite the turmoil, the quarterback position remains solid. After a couple years of speculation that two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger would retire, Big Ben signed an extension that keeps him in black and gold through the 2021 season.
Longtime head coach Mike Tomlin is confident that running back James Conner and wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster will fill the void that Bell and Brown leave.
On the defensive side of the ball, Pittsburgh signed free agent linebacker Mark Barron and cornerback Steven Nelson, along with re-signing linebacker Anthony Chickillo.
Heinz Field has been around for nearly two decades, but it did receive a facelift a couple of years ago, including a 41-by-123 foot scoreboard in the south end zone. An outdoor patio that’s open on non-game days during warm-weather months and an expansion of the Pub 33 food and beverage area are also recent additions to the stadium’s offerings. Suites at Heinz Field are climate-controlled, which is a crucial feature for those bitter-cold December and January games!
Pittsburgh looks to regain its stranglehold on the AFC North division, but it will be a tougher task this year with rival Baltimore looking strong, and Cleveland greatly improving its team. The Steelers will face those two teams, along with Cincinnati, twice this year. Other home games will be against Seattle, Miami (Monday night game), Indianapolis, the Los Angeles Rams, and Buffalo. Non-division road games include tilts with New England (Week 1 Sunday night game), San Francisco, the Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday night game), Arizona Cardinals, and Le’Veon Bell’s New York Jets.