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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Steelers future in danger

Brandon Auker
Steelers football is in extreme danger after recent events in the 2023-2024 season.

In week 13 of the NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback, Kenny Pickett, went down with an ankle injury. Doubtful to return for a couple of weeks, Mitch Trubisky has taken over as the starter. This comes as the Steelers were making a serious playoff push after firing their offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Going into week thirteen the Steelers sat at seven and four and the offense put up numbers they haven’t seen in years. But now after two consecutive losses to two and ten teams, their playoff hopes are starting to die down and fingers are beginning to be pointed. Is head coach Mike Tomlin the problem, is it Kenny Pickett or Mitch Trubisky?

Going back to the 2020 season, a very similar scenario occurred. The Steelers were eleven and zero going into week thirteen against the Washington Commanders, a team that finished seven and nine that year. During the game, the Steelers played like they always do against a team they should beat, terribly. The Steelers lost that game and went on to lose three of their next four. A team that was ranked number one in ESPN’s power rankings quickly became first-round exits.

So obviously there are repeating patterns in the Steelers organization, but the one dependent variable is head coach Mike Tomlin. Throughout his seventeen year career in Pittsburgh, Tomlin has never had a losing season and won one out of two Super Bowls. Even though the on field success for Tomlin is evident, he has not had the same luck behind the scenes. Back in 2016, the Steelers had an offensive core referred to as the “Killer Bees”. This group being quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’veon Bell. This team was electric on the field, making it all the way to the Conference Championship in the 2016-2017 season, but off the field, this group struggled. The attitudes of Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown ended in them leaving the team in dramatic fashion. This issue easily could have been resolved or slowed down by coaches.

Moving on to present day, there have been signs of this same attitude in current Steelers wide receivers Dionte Johnson and George Pickens. These two have been all about themselves the past couple of years. If they weren’t being targeted, they would show it in other ways on the field. In week twelve against the Bengals, Diontae Johson caught a would be touchdown that was ruled incomplete. Later on in the drive, Diontae Johnson ignored his blocking assignment on a run play and walked off the field after the runner fumbled the football, resulting in the Bengals recovering the football.

This issue was addressed in a press conference. Diontae issued an apology saying he puts it behind him and he’ll keep moving forward.

As for second-year wide receiver George Pickens, he has also displayed signs of “diva behavior”. Following the win in week nine George Pickens was frustrated he was not given the ball more. Due to this, he decided to draw attention to himself in other ways by deleting all Steelers-related content and following off of his social media. When asked about this situation, Mike Tomlin called it a “cute story” for the press, and a “pebble in his shoe”.

People often say history repeats itself. For the Steelers, it is heading in that direction. If Tomlin can’t manage to get this team back on track by the end of the season, could his job be in jeopardy? With just four games left in the regular season, Steelers fans can do nothing but wait for what is to come.

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About the Contributor
Brandon Auker
Brandon Auker, Reporter

My name is Brandon Auker, and this is my first year on the Mountain Echo staff. I've always loved writing, and even considered a career in journalism for sports. In my freetime, I like to hangout with my friends, watch sports and play video games.

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