It’s surprising the Pittsburgh Steelers had never been 10-0 before this season.
The Steelers had some of the best teams in NFL history in the 1970s, and over the decades since they have been contenders more often than not. Since drafting Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers have three conference championships and two Super Bowl wins.
But never 10-0.
Once you get double digits next to that zero by your record, people start to talk about the possibility of a 16-0 season. The Steelers say they aren’t focused on a perfect regular season but everyone else will start to if they can beat the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night, in a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app.
Steelers off to impressive start
The 1972 Dolphins are the only perfect team in NFL history. The 2007 Patriots are the only other team to go undefeated during the regular season in the Super Bowl era. They went 16-0 in the regular season but were upset in the Super Bowl, which has almost become a cautionary tale in the years since.
A 16-0 regular season is fine but to most teams it doesn’t matter without a championship at the end.
“We’re not chasing perfection in terms of a perfect 16-0,” Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’re chasing Lombardis. That’s the most important thing for us.”
The Steelers still have tough tests after Thursday. They will face the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns in road games and host the Indianapolis Colts. All three of those teams are 7-3. There’s a reason only two teams in the Super Bowl era have won every regular-season game. Every NFL team is capable of winning. Not slipping up once in 16 straight games is improbable.
But you can’t get to 16-0 without first winning your first 10, and the Steelers have done that. They’re one of 18 teams in the Super Bowl era to get to their 11th game without a loss, via Josh Dubow at the Associated Press. This is a rare start for any NFL team.
Ravens will test Steelers
The Ravens need the win much more than the Steelers. They have lost two straight and their chances to win the division are remote at 6-4. Suddenly, Baltimore is in a tight wild-card race. If the season started today, the Ravens would be out of the playoffs.
Over the course of a season every good team faces a desperate division foe fighting for its playoff life, or a team that’s as good as them and catches one or two breaks, or a mediocre team that plays one of its best games of the season. It’s hard to win every game that you find yourself in danger of losing. And there are very few walkover wins in the NFL. That’s why only two teams have avoided a loss in the regular season over the past 50-plus years.
The Steelers have already made history going 10-0. But there’s a long way to go to get to 16-0, with an even longer path to that Lombardi Trophy that Roethlisberger wants.
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