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On the day after their Super Bowl XLV loss, it’s small consolation for the Steelers to know that this is by no means the end of their success.
With three Super Bowl appearances and two wins in the last six years, the Steelers have been the NFL’s model franchise recently.
The pillars of their franchise are in place: QB Ben Roethlisberger is locked up long-term, running back Rashard Mendenhall is just emerging, wide receiver Mike Wallace is becoming one of the league’s most dangerous players, Troy Polamalu is coming off a Defensive Player of the Year award, and James Harrison is also going nowhere.
The Steelers do have some tough decisions to make. LaMarr Woodley and Ike Taylor, two essential cogs of the Steelers defence, are set to be free agents and the Steelers might choose to let them go. But Pittsburgh has let several key free agents go in the past and has never had an especially difficult time replacing them.
Pittsburgh has identified a handful of players that can’t be replaced, and has made sure to keep them in the black and yellow for the duration of their careers. But aside from them, the Steelers have found that strong drafting and solid depth have been more than enough to keep them in contention year after year. The Steelers came up just short this season, but as long as those pieces are in place and Mike Tomlin is the head coach, Pittsburgh will be back to the Super Bowl again.
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