Commentary

Don't count the Steelers out

Pittsburgh is dealing with injuries, but it has something no other playoff team does

Originally Published: January 3, 2012
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Ben RoethlisbergerCary Edmondson/US PresswireThe Pittsburgh Steelers have taken a low playoff seed and won a title before. Can they do it again?

The 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers offered a lesson in the limitations of how far a team can go when trying to overcome injuries.

That club was one of the most talented in NFL history (it boasted nine Hall of Famers among its starting 22), and that skill level allowed the Steelers to bounce back from a 1-4 start -- and the loss of Terry Bradshaw -- to post 10 straight wins on the way to a berth in the AFC Championship Game.

Making it to that contest was quite an achievement, but it turned out to be the high-water mark of the year. Pittsburgh lost both of its starting running backs in an AFC divisional playoff win against the Baltimore Colts. Those losses were just too much even for this roster, and it led to a stagnant offense and a 24-7 defeat at the hands of the Oakland Raiders.

The current Pittsburgh roster doesn't quite have the stockpile of Hall of Fame-caliber candidates, but unlike that 1976 team, this year's Steelers should be able to use a diverse set of strengths to work around their health limitations. If they can, this is a team fully capable of making a Super Bowl run.