December 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks at the scoreboard and reacts to a holding call on the Steelers against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries, not leadership played biggest role in Steelers’ demise


I often find it comical when people question what goes on in a locker room. Now that the NFL playoffs are set to begin without the Pittsburgh Steelers, the common opinion is that the Steelers finished 8-8 because of a lack of leadership.

Sure the Steelers lost four good locker room guys in Hines Ward, James Farrior, Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke during the offseason and that is a lot to lose for any team, but not having those four in a Steelers’ uniform did nothing in terms of wins and losses.

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu (43) on the field before playing the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Production and execution wins games and clearly the production of that group had slipped during the past few years. Sure it would be nice to have had a vocal leader in the locker room, but there are enough of those right now.

I didn’t hear people complaining about leadership when all of those guys were around in 2009 when the Steelers failed to make the playoffs.

If anyone needs to step up and hold people accountable, it is head coach Mike Tomlin. His team was undisciplined for most of the season and failed to execute on both sides of the ball when they had to.

At the end of the day, the reason for the Steelers problems in 2012 was as simple as injuries.

They were just way too banged up at almost every position across the field. When you don’t have quality depth, you simply can’t afford to lose your key players.

That’s what happened and eventually it got to be too much to recover from. It’s that simple and it has nothing to do with locker room leadership.

After the Kansas City Chiefs game, when the Steelers were on a roll and sitting at 6-3, not one person questioned the leadership in the locker room. But it’s funny that when things go bad, that’s the answer to all problems.

Ben Roethlisberger got hurt that Monday night and the Steelers never really recovered as they continued to see key player after key player go down.

When you point the finger, it is fine to point it at Tomlin. It’s his team and he deserves the criticism when things go bad and also deserves praise when things go good. But don’t question leadership.

The leadership is there, but the leaders have to be healthy enough to play.

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Tags: Ben Roethlisberger Featured Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers Popular

  • Guest

    No doubt injuries had a major impact on the team (82 games lost); however, injuries were not the reason for as much undisciplined play and mistakes we

  • http://www.facebook.com/jshepher John Shepherd

    As a member of Steeler Nation living in Dallas for the last 20 years, I appreciate everything you and your peers do keeping us informed all year long. Keep up the good work! Hopefully, it was readily apparent to most fans and observers the amount of injuries the team dealt with this year (78 starts lost – 5 starters per game average almost) was the single biggest factor. However, there was a level of undisciplined play and mistakes (fumbles, dropped passes, missed tackles, etc.), along with what appeared to be a lack of intensity at times that you just don’t see with our Steelers. I am not sure injuries can explain all of that. There was a very good and interesting article published by the Tribune Review – http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3188480-74/polamalu-steelers-bowl#axzz2GCSE0gjV – that I thought indirectly spoke to some of the additional root causes. That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that the team has the necessary leadership in place (ownership, coaches, players) to make the necessary adjustments.