Will Steelers Finish Last in the AFC North?

By Ed Bouchette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10 years ago

Can the Cleveland Browns finish ahead of the Steelers in the AFC North this season? It’s been awhile.

Chuck Noll coached the Steelers and Bud Carson, his former defensive coordinator, coached the Browns. It was 1989, or 24 years ago, the last time Cleveland finished ahead of Pittsburgh. The Browns won the old AFC Central Division with a 9-6-1 record. Both the Steelers and Houston Oilers earned wildcard playoff berths at 9-7.

The Steelers opened the playoffs at Houston, where they won in overtime on Gary Anderson’s 50-yard field goal. They then went to Denver, where they lost to John Elway 24-23. Had they won that game, and they were ahead late, they would have played the AFC championship game in Cleveland.

Instead, the Browns, who beat Buffalo in their first playoff game, lost at Denver in the AFC title game 37-21.

Of course today, there are no Houston Oilers, who became the Tennessee Titans, and that Cleveland Browns team became the Baltimore Ravens. Four AFC Central teams helped form the new AFC North.

And now, for the first time in 24 years, the Browns at 3-2 are threatening to finish ahead of the Steelers, who are 0-4.

Onto some stuff:

--- After the other three teams in the AFC North won their games over the weekend, the Steelers are now 2 ½ behind each, three in the victory column. So much for the easy AFC North.

--- The NFL concussion issue and eventual “settlement” came to a head with an autopsy on Mike Webster. From NPR:

--- Gary Pomerantz will soon publish the best book ever written about the 1970s Steelers and their aftermath. I will write more about that soon. Here, Pomerantz writes in the Wall Street Journal (and reprinted by the Post-Gazette) about the death of L.C. Greenwood:

--- Punter Brian Moorman is back with the Buffalo Bills.

--- A look at the Steelers from New York, where the Steelers will play the Jets Sunday:

--- ME & YOU questions:

--- YOU: “Some of the Steelers were out of town last week - including appearing in the media in other cities. Why weren’t the Steelers practicing all of the “off –week” after their poor start? Where is the discipline and toughness we were promised?”

ME: The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement mandates that players have four days off in a row during their bye week. That was Thursday through Sunday. They return to work and practice today at their facility in Pittsburgh.

--- YOU: So with the signing of Levi Brown, we now have *three* right tackles. Is

there any offense that uses three right tackles and no left tackle?

ME: Perhaps they can put two on the left side and those two would equal one left tackle.

--- YOU: Obviously Adams isn't playing up to the standard. Haven't heard anything about Gilbert lately and frankly I thought he was doing worse than Adams at one point. What does the team think about his play?

ME: After a rough start, Marcus Gilbert’s play has improved steadily at right tackle and they’re hoping it will continue to do so. He did a nice job there in 2011 as a rookie.

--- YOU: It's been almost 5 weeks, when I knew after the 3rd preseason game that M.Gilbert should be starting at LT & K.Beachum &/or now L.Brown at RT, & leave Beachum as the backup for everyone.

ME: The Steelers want to let well enough alone and keep Gilbert at right tackle. Either Levi Brown or Kelvin Beachum will start at left tackle; that is, as long as they can handle the job.

--- NOTE: You can send me questions either through, or platefloor@aol.