Will Steelers go 16-0? Or 19-0? A simulation of the rest of their season gives them a pretty good chance

Frank Schwab
·3 min read

Of all the teams in the 54 seasons of the Super Bowl era, only two have gone through the regular season undefeated.

That’s why it’s notable the Pittsburgh Steelers have close to a one-in-three chance of finishing 16-0, according to one simulation.

The Steelers are 10-0 and scheduled to play Tuesday against the Baltimore Ravens in a rescheduled game. Assuming that game, and the five after it, happen as scheduled, the Steelers have a decent shot at history.

A simulation on Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021 by Wolverine Studios says the Steelers have a 29% chance of joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2007 New England Patriots in one of sports’ most exclusive clubs.

Steelers have a decent shot at perfection

The simulation on Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2021 was run 100 times, according to Wolverine Studios founder Gary Gorski. Here’s how the Steelers’ season ended up:

16-0: 29%
15-1: 27%
14-2: 34%
13-3: 10%

Of course, 16-0 isn’t the goal for the Steelers. As quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, the team isn’t chasing a perfect regular season record but “Lombardis,” the trophy that goes to the Super Bowl champion.

No team has ever finished 19-0. The Patriots lost the Super Bowl at the end of the 2007 season, finishing 18-1. The ‘72 Dolphins got through the season without a loss, but that was with a 14-game schedule. They finished 17-0.

According to the Wolverine Studios simulation, 14% of the time the Steelers finished 16-0 they went on to win it all.

Having a 14% chance to do something no team in NFL history has ever done is pretty remarkable.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11) celebrates a touchdown with JuJu Smith-Schuster (19), Eric Ebron (85), Ray-Ray McCloud (14) and Diontae Johnson (18). (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11) celebrates a touchdown with JuJu Smith-Schuster (19), Eric Ebron (85), Ray-Ray McCloud (14) and Diontae Johnson (18). (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Will Steelers chase 16-0?

The simulation can’t necessarily adjust for what Mike Tomlin will do if the team clinches the No. 1 seed. Would he push for a 16-0 season or rest starters in the finale against a good Cleveland Browns team? There’s a good possibility the 16-0 dream comes to an end right before the playoffs.

“In addition to the 29% chance of going a perfect 16-0, the chance of them being 15-0 was actually 37% with them falling in those additional occasions at Cleveland in the final game of the season,” Gorski said.

Going through an NFL regular season without a loss is a fantastic feat. There are no easy games in the NFL. Stringing together 16 straight winning performances, while dodging unlucky breaks along the way, seems impossible. The two teams that have gone through a regular season undefeated in the Super Bowl era should be proud of that accomplishment.

Now the 2020 Steelers have their chance to make their own history.

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