Updated: Feb 26, 2021
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Heading into the 2021 season, it feels like many in the media and Steelers fans feel like the Steelers will have their first losing season since 2003. The last time I can remember Steelers fans feeling this down about the team would have to be 2013 when the Steelers were coming off an 8-8 season and longtime staple players were no longer on the team.
On "First Things First" on Wednesday, Nick Wright told Brandon Marshall, who is a Pittsburgh native that this is going to be an unusual year for the Steelers.
"I think this is going to be maybe the first year of your life that the Steelers go into a season not thinking they're contending for a Super Bowl," Wright told Marshall. "We say all the time, they're certain teams that are just trying to make the playoffs, hang on, and then there's certain teams that every year they're contending for the Super Bow. The Steelers our entire lives, and by the way before our lives -- in the '70s as well -- they're whole organizational has been about competing for championships."
A discussion of the soon-to-be 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger being the worst quarterback in the division has become a big topic in the media recently, and Wright feels the same way, as he sees the young quarterbacks of Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow, if healthy, all being superior to Roethlisberger at this point of his career.
"You can't be compete for championships if you're willingly signing up for a damn near 40-year-old quarterback who is the worst quarterback in the division -- Lamar is better, Baker is better and if Joe Burrow's knee is healthy, he's better."
By winning the AFC North in 2020, the Steelers will play a first-place schedule in 2021, and they'll have tough road games at Kansas City, Buffalo and Green Bay. The Ravens and Browns have both won at least 10 games in 2020, and the Bengals are an improving team led by Joe Burrow who will have a high draft pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Steelers have the toughest schedule in the league in 2021 based on their opponents' combined record of 143-111-2 (.563) in 2020. It includes nine games against 2020 playoff teams, counting the Browns and Ravens twice.