The cost of success
The Steelers struggles of the past few years are a by-product of their successes of the previous 5 years.
I know some of the vocal minority on this board like to assign blame all over the place but the reality is, it's difficult for top-flight NFL teams to remain "elite" for too long. When teams get really good, guess what comes next? Their good, young players have to get paid. Either by them, or someone else, but the young talent that is developed by good teams either goes elsewhere for a bigger payday or stays home.
When a team has legit, All-Pro-level talent, they have to pay them. When that happens, something's gotta give. When the Steelers paid their top-level players (as they should), the depth of the team suffers.
Look at the teams who've had the most success in the past 15 or so years. The Patriots, the Steelers, and the Giants have 7 Super Bowls between them. It's not a surprise that these teams have hit a "down cycle."
Another factor is that the NFL is a cyclical league by design. The draft itself is designed so the "lesser" teams will get better talent coming from college by picking higher in the draft. A team can't consistently pick towards the back of every round of the draft for years and expect to find top-level talent. Sure you can still find good players, but it's much more hit or miss.
Look at teams like San Francisco, Seattle, or the Redskins. They were bad for a long period of time and were able to stockpile lots of good, young talent after picking higher in the draft year after year. You add a good young QB in the mix with all of that talent and BOOM, you have a good team. But guess what happens in a few years? Russell Wilson and Kaepernick and RGIII have to get PAID! You dedicate $15-$20 Million per year to your QB and suddenly your young LB's, CB's and WR's hit the open market or have to be cut to get under the cap.
It happens to all good teams. I HATE that it's finally happening here, but it appears it is. No worries for me though. I love this team. Always will. I'll cheer just as hard for the young up and coming talent we have now as they figure out the Steeler way for themselves. Sure it's difficult after the success they've had, but I guarantee they'll be back.
I just hope the QB is still around to see it.
Speaking of the Pats, Giants, and Steelers. They have a ton of recent SuperBowls amongst them and their QBs have almost identically bad ratings. These are the only 3 QBs I'd want in the playoffs to win 1 game.
That speaks to my point. When you have star players (especially QB's), it comes at a cost somewhere else on your team at some point down the line.
Good teams can manage that for awhile and hopefully can get to and win a Superbowl during that window. Pittsburgh did it twice, so did the Giants. The Pats won early in Brady's career, before he got his huge deal (and they cheated to do it).
Its too easy to just point at the coordinators or coaches or GM and assign blame. The truth is, you just can't have a Super Bowl caliber team every year. Things have to line up properly and fall into place for that to happen.
A somewhat simplistic analysis. Niners were pathetic for a decade, selecting in the front of the draft for most of that time. If it really depended on talent alone, the cycles should be the length of a rookie deal (typically 4 or 5 yrs). Fact is, it took hiring better coaching and in one season the Niners were a contender. Yes, the talent was there, but it wasn't until better coaching arrived that the talent was exploited. This same scenario applies to the Seahags and the hiring of Carroll.
You don't think being "pathetic" for a long time has anything to do with acquiring more talent? Pete Carroll is suddenly Vice Lombardi? He was certainly no Lombardi with the Patriots earlier in his career. He has great talent to work with after Seattle stunk for awhile.
Sure Bill Walsh was a great coach, but he also just happened to have Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Roger Craig, etc etc.
People LOVE to find something or someone to assign blame to. Coaching is the most OVERRATED aspect of sports. You say it's simplistic? Yep. You have better players, you have a better chance of winning.
But, but, when Carroll coached the Jets, he was awesome...right?!?
I find it hard to believe that success has anything to do with blowing drafts after drafts....
Hood, Heyward and DeCastro have contributed nothing so far...all Rd 1 picks. Pouncey well i don't think it a great center.
2008 and 2009 drafts were waste and it has caught up with them.
Some of the best players the Steelers have are not high first round picks. Miller, Hampton, and Faneca were all lower first round picks. As a matter of fact the high picks the Steelers have had weren't core players on SB teams. Guys like Burress (8th overall) and Troy Edwards (13th) didn't help win anything. Ben is the only really high draft pick that has helped do anything. Remember Troy was 16th overall.
I said all this to say that the reason the Steelers are struggling is because of bad draft picks not because they are drafting low. They've always drafted low. Most of the great players they have are from low picks.
we used to develop talent.. we've struggled the last few years but we have also been snake bitten a few times.
Originally Posted by Vader
I think the OP has merit though... I don't think it's because we paid a bunch of top talent..I think it's because held onto some fading glory too long.
I keep thinking that Cowher retired way too soon because he definitely had enough talent assembled to make a run at 2-3 more Super Bowls. Tomlin took over and used up that available talent until it was all gone and now he's left with a substandard team made up bad draft picks and also-rans. Kind of a right place at the right time scenario if you will for Tomlin.