Up, and down.
High, and low.
Top of the world, bottom of the barrel.
The 2016 season was, for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a tale of extremes. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant was suspended — the lowest of lows. The team looked excellent out of the chute, with a dominant win over the Redskins and then a victory over bitter-rival Cincinnati. Thirty-five thousand feet high and climbing.
Then they fell flat against the Eagles, giving up 34 points and scoring a meager three.
But they started 4-1, including utterly destroying the Chiefs, 43-14.
Then they got thumped by the Dolphins.
If you aren’t already catching on, then here is a clear analogy to describe the Steelers’ season: follow the bouncing ball.
It’s the hallmark of a team that is on the cusp of greatness. That showed when they fell one step short of a ninth Super Bowl appearance. They were almost there, but not quite.
One more step to climb.
Bryant is back, and will instantly elevate the receiving corps to new heights. Le’Veon Bell may hold out of training camp over the lack of a contract, but when he hits the field, he’s playing for his future — be it in Pittsburgh, or elsewhere. 2017 should be his finest season, and that’s saying a lot. And there’s little need to even mention receiver Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Even offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva has signed an extension, and is locked in. Distractions are at a minimum. The offense, that struggled at times in 2016 due to lack of receiver depth, is healthy and as strong as ever. They have the ability to get there. To climb that last step.
Defensively, Cameron Heyward…
click here to read the rest of this story