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Steelers Point Differential is not Unprecedented in Future Success

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have defied just about every conventional metric used to determine if a team is worthy of making the playoffs this season. Point differential, total rushing yards allowed, total offense, hot takes, etc.

You name it, and the Steelers probably don't clear the bar of what's traditionally thought of as a team that plays in the "second season." following.

According to, the Steelers finished the season with a point differential of -55, the 11th worst in the league. Only Las Vegas, who kicked the Steelers into the playoffs, has a worse differential at -65.

After reaching those two teams, the following "worst" differential for playoff teams is Philadelphia at +59.

Between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the gulf between them was eight of the teams who missed the playoffs.

According to a tweet by Josh Dubow of the Associated Press, the Raiders and the Steelers have two of the ten worst point differentials for playoff teams of all time.

Many things point differential doesn't measure: heart, desire, will, and resilience.

We know all about the Steelers' ups and downs on the field how they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the fourth quarter seven times and nearly grabbed it two more times from teams who finished better in that one stat.

The Raiders had to deal with off-the-field issues. From past emails by former Head Coach Jon Gruden resurfacing to the arrest of WR Henry Ruggs III after a deadly DUI crash and similar DUI incidents with other players.

A poor point differential doesn't mean that the wildcard game is a lost cause. The only team that lost their first game was the 2017 Bills, who lost to Jacksonville.

It was the beginning of their breakthrough for some teams on that list.

Only three teams have failed to make it to the conference championship once within the next six seasons (2004 Rams, 1998 Cardinals, and 1978 Falcons).

The owners of the two worst point differentials, the 2010 Seahawks and 2011 Broncos, made two Super Bowl appearances and won a championship.

After 1989, the Steelers made it to the conference championship twice. They lost to San Diego in 1994 and defeated Indianapolis in 1995 on their way to Super Bowl 30 in Arizona.


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