Even if the Steelers slip into the Playoffs this year, nobody seems to have great expectations. The stars that drove the team to three AFC titles in the past seven years seem to be, for the most part, past their prime or lacking in "magic."
The current team seems vastly less hopeful than the 2005 team that got hot at the close of the year a went on a wild Wildcard run to win SB40.
A younger and more energetic Bengals team is now poised to knock the Steelers out of contention (out of their misery?).
It's feeling more and more like the end of an era...with players like Harrison, Polamalu, Hampton, Foote, etc., singing their so-called swan song.
Even Rothlisberger, in his prime, is beginning to wear on people. Fact is, for years he's relied on the league's stingiest defense in terms of points allowed. Though ranked #1 overall, this year's defense is giving up close to 21 points per game, ranking 20th, and eerily similar to 2009, when the Steelers LAST MISSED THE PLAYOFFS.
Fact is, under Big Ben, the Steelers have never come close to matching the scoring prowess of the NFL's elite offenses.
With the need to re-tool so glaringly apparent, is Big Ben suddenly on the trading block for 2013? Would he be happier in Arizona--"Steelers West," re-uniting with Ken Wisenhut or his possible replacement, Ben's beloved Arians?
B4 anybody goes ballistic, just remember: the end of an era is not the end of the freakin' world.