Friday, June 21, 2024

Steelers provide solace after Penguins playoff elimination.

Pittsburgh Fans Face Playoff Drought

Pittsburgh sports fans are dealing with a predicament they haven’t faced in 20 years: none of the city’s three professional sports teams have made the playoffs in succession. The Penguins were the last to fall, eliminated from NHL playoff contention on Wednesday night, ending their impressive run of 16 consecutive postseason berths.

All three of the city’s teams – the Penguins, Pirates, and Steelers – were playing regular-season games last October, but none of them made it past that point. The Pirates extended their non-playoff streak to seven years, while the Steelers missed the playoffs after starting the season with a 2-6 record despite finishing the season with a winning record.

The last time all three of Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams missed the playoffs in succession was in 2003. The Pirates finished with a 75-87 record, while the Penguins were two years into a rebuild, ending their streak of 11 consecutive playoff appearances. The Steelers finished with a 6-10 record, their worst under coach Bill Cowher.

Pittsburgh’s Turnaround

However, Pittsburgh’s sports teams didn’t stay down for long. The Penguins’ lean years helped them acquire low draft picks that eventually led to the acquisition of a core group of stars who would guide them to Stanley Cup victories in 2009, 2016, and 2017. The Steelers used their last losing season to select quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 draft, leading them to two Super Bowl wins and three AFC titles.

The Pirates, led by outfielder Andrew McCutchen, ended their 21-year playoff drought in 2013 with a win over the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card Game. They made the playoffs the next two seasons as well.

Looking Ahead

While the Pirates aren’t expected to make the playoffs this year, the Steelers are projected to have a decent shot at ending the city’s playoff drought. Caesars Sportsbook has set their win projection at 9.5, putting them on the edge of a playoff spot. Their third-place schedule for the upcoming season also helps their chances.

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About Jonty Jackson

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