Uncommon Steelers undeterred by uncommon times, measures

Greek physician, Hippocrates, is credited as having once said that drastic times call for drastic measures; a modernized derivation of his original statement, “Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies.” Hippocrates, also credited by disciples of Pythagoras as allying philosophy and medicine, seems to have summed up the current state of the National Football League fairly well. 2020 has been nothing if not dramatically uncommon. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been anything but common this season, posting a 10-0 record for the first time in franchise history; they have faced desperate moments while embracing change, maintaining a morale built around the philosophy that every member is critical to success and success requires full effort.

Despite efforts by the NFL and NFLPA, preparations made months ago for potential COVID-19 positivity rates among players and staff have been turned on their head; some teams have been forced to utilize their expanded practice squad in order to field a team while the Steelers have experienced two major scheduling challenges this season and three more minor adjustments in a little less than a week due to an outbreak of coronavirus infections among members of the Baltimore Ravens organization.  How fitting it is that this year’s Pittsburgh Steelers squad, facing uncommon times and measures, continues to be undeterred in achieving their ultimate goal: winning.

On behalf of the entire Steelers organization, I want to thank Steelers Nation for all your support during this unusual season and wish you and your families a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! – Steelers President Art Rooney II

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Frustrations have been aired publically by both NFL fans and players, beyond individuals directly involved with either AFC North rival, over the level of uncertainty there has been surrounding Week 12 and the game that was originally scheduled between the Steelers and Ravens for Thanksgiving night. Much of that was compounded by a lack of consistency from the league’s front office about which games they’ve moved to a different date and which games they have chosen, instead, to maintain – on schedule – regardless of the number of positive test results that were gathered from teams that would take the field.

It became clear, after the Ravens organization continued to report positive test after positive test, that the league would have to make a determination on how to act. Additional frustration was expressed when the NFL announced that their original rescheduled time of Sunday afternoon would once again be moved.

We appreciate our fans patience as we work through the rescheduling of our upcoming game versus the Baltimore Ravens. Along with the Ravens, we have been working with the League Office to ensure the game can be safely played in Week 12. We look forward to a national NBC audience on Tuesday night that will showcase one of the best rivalries in the NFL. – Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten

The Steelers placed Stephon Tuitt, Isaiah Buggs, and Jerald Hawkins on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.

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When he was asked about the identity of the team he is leading being about winning, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin simplified it by saying, “Score one more point than your opponent… You better not have any glaring weaknesses in today’s game, because somebody is going to be capable of exploiting it and you’re going to get out of the stadium with an ‘L’.” Being able to turn weaknesses into strengths has been a large part of why the Steelers have gotten to 10-0 in 2020; they prepared, adapted, adjusted, and overcame. They also exploited the weaknesses their opponents were unable to hide.

Significant players deliver significant plays in weighty moments, and that generally comprises the general makeup of really good football teams. – Mike Tomlin

So, during uncommon times and amidst uncommon measures, the undeterred Steelers are holding themselves to the “standard” that is so often talked about. “We better be here every day,” Tomlin said about appreciating the opportunity to be able to play the game this season, “and working our tails off to get better.”

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