Let’s never say again that the Rooney family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers, are loyal to a fault. It’s easy to see how many Black & Yellow fans and national observers of the franchise have developed this opinion in recent years.
The Steelers, who tied the NFL record for most Super Bowl wins, are now mired in the longest streak of playoff futility since before the 1970s dynasty. Their offense hasn’t put up more than 300 yards or scored more than 30 points since Ben Roethlisberger hung up his cleats two years ago. Their fans, a spoiled nation Yenzer Accustomed to always competing for Lombardi, they descended into discontent — chanting chants to fire embattled offensive coordinator Matt Canada. At Pittsburgh Penguins home games. In penguins Road games. On Pat McAfee’s broadcast. . . In Utah. Literally everywhere.
Today, those fans got a pound of flesh when the Steelers canned Canada, handing their jaded, wobbly engineer walking papers just two days before Thanksgiving — and less than a week after an ugly loss to their hated rivals, the Cleveland Browns.
Happy holidays, Matt!
That the Steelers are 6-4 and currently own a theoretical wild-card berth is something of a Thanksgiving miracle given that under Canada’s system, they have trailed in the fourth quarter of each of their wins and have been outgained in yardage by every opposing offense they have faced this season. The Steelers have scored fewer total points than their opponents through 11 games and still somehow have a winning record.
Perhaps the only things more miraculous are that Canada was able to keep his job for so long — after he wasted the final season of Roethlisberger’s career along with Kenny Pickett’s first year and a half — or the fact that the Steelers actually fired him midway through the season. The Steelers may be the only franchise in all of American team sports that is okay with the appearance of valuing organizational loyalty and stability as much as winning. They have only had three head coaches since Chuck Noll was hired in 1969. Roethlisberger was under the position from 2004 through 2021. According to ESPN, leather helmets were still an innovation. The last time they fired a coach was this season.
But in the 1940s, the Steelers were still a laughingstock, not respected as among the NFL’s historically best. Today, they have a young QB in Pickett who has been a suspect playing for a year and a half suggesting the team either made a huge mistake using the 20th overall pick to draft him or they can’t afford to leave him in the hands of a player. Coordinator for whom? Sweep plane It was a will and forward passes beyond 20 yards or between hashes were prohibited.
“The improvements haven’t been quick enough or consistent enough for us to move forward,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. His weekly press conference Tuesday evening. “You’ve got to score points in this business, you’ve got to win games in this business, and it’s all what got us to where we are today.”
But that wasn’t the most important thing Tomlin said.
“My role is to accommodate and protect those I work with. And that doesn’t feel like it. Obviously, I’m not interested in helping to shift blame or distract in any way,” Tomlin said.
If you’re not familiar with Tomlinspeak or haven’t been listening closely enough, you may have missed what he actually said there: “Matt, I’ve protected you long enough and this seat is starting to get really hot. Something had to give, and it’s going to be you before it’s me.”
As the Steelers now, without Canada, have consigned themselves to the brink of clarity. They may retain their tenuous playoff spot or lose it via a losing streak in the back half of the season. Whichever way things go, they have released Beckett and it’s a crime to make any excuses about an incompetent coordinator unable to script a game worth watching on a Sunday afternoon. Now, if Pickett and WR Deontae Johnson can’t come to the same thing on deep routes, if alien receiver George Pickens still wants to break free from this offense or if the former first-round pick… Najee Harris believes crime is too predictableThey’ll know exactly where to look, and it won’t be in Canada.
And if Pickett can’t solve the problem now, the Steelers may look to the draft to trade him.