I’ll take a 9-8. And trade Trubisky.

Well, Steelers fans, we did all we could. The Steelers slapped the Cleveland Browns 28-14, finishing the season at 9-8 and giving Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin his 16th consecutive season of a .500 record or better. No other head coach has ever achieved such a start to their career, and only three other head coaches have had 16 seasons TOTAL of a .500 record or better (Lambeau, Halas, Belichick).

Our new rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett (man, I love being able to mention a Pittsburgh quarterback’s name again) played strong as the season progressed, garnering back-to-back 4th quarter game-winning touchdown runs and playing like a champion. He had a rough start to his NFL career – nothing like throwing an interception on your first professional forward pass – but Pickett settled into the role of field general and played with heart and passion.

Also some love to the other star rookie on the team, wide receiver George Pickens. Pickens caught passes with the skill and acrobatics of a Cirque du Soleil performer, revitalizing the air game so much that the Steelers felt comfortable with trading hot-and-cold receiver Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for a draft pick. Which means Pittsburgh essentially gets TWO draft picks in the first round – the #17 pick (Pittsburgh’s own) and the #32 pick (essentially Chicago’s 2nd round pick, but because Miami was stripped of their first draft pick, we get what would essentially be the last first-round pick – work with me, it makes sense).

Pittsburgh’s running back crew of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren manned up – heck, Warren played his way onto the team after being a glorified walk-on. And Najee – that man could run through a brick wall like he was an anthromorphic pitcher of Kool-Aid.

On defense – Minkah Fitzpatrick snagged more interceptions, TJ Watt garnered more sacks, and the team truly worked as hard as it could.

But a 9-8 record means there were eight losses. Even though the Steelers had essentially a “rebuilding year” – when your longtime quarterback finally retires, you’re expected to wander in the desert for 40 years and never sniff the playoffs again – they didn’t rebuild, they reloaded. But those eight losses were costly.

And there are more than a few people to blame for those losses. These people need to leave Pittsburgh as soon as possible. Like now. Pack your lockers up and haul ass out of downtown.

Matt Canada. The Steelers’ offensive coordinator’s playbook for the first half of the season probably had four words on it – run, run, pass, punt. That seemed to be all we did at the start of the season. 3-and-outs. Jet sweeps that crashed. Tabletop football against Madden ’22. We need an offensive coordinator whose playbook wasn’t annotated on a fast food restaurant napkin.

Dan Moore. Maybe I’m just too spoiled with legendary Steelers centers like Mike Webster and Markice Pouncey. But damn, Dan Moore cost us so many times with false start penalties. We couldn’t keep having 3rd-and-shorts turn into 3rd-and-longs because Dan Moore can’t follow the snap count. Ugh.

Diontae Johnson. Honestly, there were great moments for Diontae Johnson this year. But you can’t expect to catch a ball when your hands are showing the size of the fish you caught. So many passes went right through his grasp. Trade him for picks in the offseason.

Pressley Harvin III. There is a reason you don’t waste draft picks on punters and kickers. Pressley Harvin III was so freakin’ hit-and-miss with his kicks, it drove me nuts. One punt would pin the opponent to their five-yard-line; the next punt would sail out of bounds 17 yards after it hit Harvin’s foot. The man was about as consistent as constipation. Pittsburgh needs to find a good, consistnet punter. Go down to the Australian Football League, search for someone from St. Kilda or Collingwood or Port Adelaide or one of those AFL teams, bring them up here, pay them in Vegemite and Tim Tams, and give them Harvin’s job. Plain and simple.

Mitch Trubisky. Where do I start? Mitch Trubisky was a last-minute signing that had nowhere else to go. We got stuck with him when the other guy retired and it was too late to sign anyone else, and there was no way we would throw Kenny Pickett out there on Opening Day. Trubisky was supposed to guide the Steelers until Pickett was ready. Trubisky was NOT supposed to shit the bed every time he took the field, to the point where Tomlin had no choice but to put Pickett in ON THE FOURTH GAME OF THE SEASON. At this point in time, I would trade Mitch Trubisky to an XFL team for a stack of old “HE HATE ME” souvenir jerseys.

Okay. Vent over.

Now here’s the thing. Am I going to watch the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl this year if the Steelers aren’t in it? Maybe, maybe not. I’m sure there’s some great opportunities for photography, and there’s an upcoming Trivia Bowl, and oh the National Basketball League of Canada just started their season last weekend, so there’s that.

I mean, it would have been nice if the Steelers were in the postseason.

But for what they did achieve, I’ll take the 9-8 record and hope that they’ll reload in the draft.

As I said … they won’t rebuild. Steelers reload. 😀