NFL Season Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Just two seasons ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers became the top dogs in the NFL once again as they won their second Super Bowl title of the decade, but last season in their title defense, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers really struggled to get back to championship form.

Even though the Steelers championship team was relatively intact, Pittsburgh just could get any kind of consistency going on the football field as they seemed like they were still recovering from a long NFL season the year before. Not only were the Steelers struggling on offense, but they were missing a huge part of their defense in the form of superstar safety and perennial Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu.

With Polamalu battling a knee injury all season long, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense seemed to be exposed on the defensive side of the football and the once dominant AFC giant started to get beat by some of the worst teams in the league like the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.

Despite losing to some of the worst teams on their schedule, the Steelers did have one highlight last season by handing Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings their first loss of the year in week seven just before they went into their bye week, but other than that, it was a pretty disappointing year to say the least.

Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers fail to make the playoffs in their Super Bowl title defense, but in the offseason their superstar quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got into trouble off the field once again as he was accused of sexual assault.

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Ultimately, the charges were dropped against Big Ben and the two-time Super Bowl champion could take a sigh of relief, but his
punishment was forth coming as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he would suspend the Pittsburgh Steelers gunslinger for the first six games of the regular season for violating the person conduct policy.

Even though the suspension seemed a bit steep for a player that hadn’t been convicted of anything, Roger Goodell still felt that it was warranted, but there was a chance for the quarterback to redeem himself as the commissioner has said that he is willing to cut the suspension from six games down to four if he feels that Big Ben has made an effort to correct his life off the gridiron.

Fortunately, it appears that Big Ben has impressed Goodell with his behavior over the rest of the offseason and into the preseason as they are set to meet in New York soon to discuss a possible reduction in suspension.

In the meantime, head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers have to plan for life without their starting quarterback for at least the first four weeks of the season in which they will face off against the Atlanta Falcons (week 1), Tennessee Titans (week 2), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (week 3) and Baltimore Ravens (week 4) before heading into their bye week in week 5.

Even without Big Ben under center the Pittsburgh Steelers look pretty good with some veteran backups like Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and lightening quick youngster Dennis Dixon.

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