AFC North

The Pittsburgh Steelers Will Return as Super Bowl Contenders in 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half in an NFL football divisional playoff game, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

The shorthanded Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the Denver Broncos 23-16 as their season came to an end. Tomlin was happy with his team’s effort, but realizes his team did not do enough to win today. “We came up a few plays short, such is life,” said Tomlin.

The Steelers will return a strong offensive core for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Running back Le’Veon Bell will return from injury to go along with wide receivers Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and consistent tight end Heath Miller. All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey will return from injury as well.

On the defensive side of the football, the steelers have a young linebacking core with Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones. The Steelers must add help at the cornerback position and could use an upgrade at both safety positions. Cameron Heyward is an emerging force on the defensive line and must continue to develop with Stephon Tuitt.

“We dealt with a lot of issues this year…a lot of teams would’ve quit. We didn’t. I’m very proud of everyone’s efforts. We overcame so much to get to this point,” said Roethlisberger. The Steelers managed to battle through injuries all across the roster and even had Landry Jones and Michael Vick take meaningful snaps at quarterback this season. It is impressive that the Steelers still managed to go 10-6 and win one playoff game, while having to deal with these obstacles.

Steelers fans should remain optimistic as the team returns to full health with head coach Mike Tomlin and Roethlisberger leading the team. The Steelers will be right back in the Super Bowl conversation in 2016.

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