Pittsburgh Steelers fans can’t help but wonder if this is going to be 2006 and 2009 all over again after the Steelers’ 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The Raiders always seem to be one of the Steelers’ antagonists during seasons in which they miss the playoffs.
The Steelers lost to a 2-14 Raiders team in Oakland on the way to finishing 8-8 in 2006.
The Steelers lost at home to a 5-11 Raiders squad while going 9-7 and missing the playoffs in 2009.
That motif continued on Sunday, when the Steelers blew a 10-point lead and lost to the previously winless Raiders on a last-second field goal to drop to 1-2.
The Steelers also started 1-2 in 2006 and 2009. That doesn’t seem to bode well for the 2012 Steelers.
The 2006 and 2009 teams were coming off Super Bowl championships. A Super Bowl hangover has been used as the blanket excuse for the demise of those teams.
But, was it really a Super Bowl hangover? Perhaps, something bigger is at work here.
The Steelers haven’t made the playoffs for three straight years, since they went every year from 1992-1997.
After reaching the playoffs in 2001 and 2002, the Steelers sank to 6-10 in 2003. The Steelers didn’t reach the Super Bowl in 2002, so there obviously was no Super Bowl hangover. It had more to do with the fact that they needed a franchise quarterback, and they got him when they drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
Roethlisberger has taken the Steelers to three Super Bowls, winning two of them. However, he has yet to lead the Steelers to three straight playoff appearances.
Neither has Mike Tomlin. While Tomlin has matched Bill Cowher’s Super Bowl resume with two appearances and one win, Cowher took the Steelers to the playoffs in his first six seasons.
Since then, the Steelers seem to suffer from a “Third-Year Syndrome” that keeps them out of the playoffs every third year.Steelers games online.