The Pittsburgh Steelers has won their first 10 games for the first time in franchise history. They remain eligible to become the third team in the Super Bowl era to win every regular-season game.
So why does the possibility of another perfect regular season continue to not capture the imagination of fans and media?
If the Patriots were 10-0 with the same remaining schedule (Ravens, WFT, at Bills, at Bengals, Colts, at Browns), the “will they run the table?” question would be leading every radio and TV show in the English-speaking world and beyond. With the Steelers, no one cares.
There are three main reasons for it. First, they’re not consistently blowing teams out. Only three wins ended with margins of more than 10 points. Five of the victories were one-score games. They’re not dominant, in the same way that the 2007 Patriots were.
The Patriots had a long list of blowouts. At Jets, 38-14. Chargers? Another 38-14. Bills, 38-7. Patriots 34, Bengals 13. 34-17 over the Browns. 48-27 over the Cowboys. 49 Patriots, 28 Dolphins. Patriots 52, Washington 7.
The only close game from the first 10 came against Peyton Manning and the Colts, a 24-20 win. The tenth was an old-school romp over Buffalo, 56-10.
Things got closer after that. A 31-28 win over Philly, a memorable 27-24 Monday night squeaker at Baltimore.
The Steelers talked tough but lost big to New England, 34-13. Safety Anthony Smith actually guaranteed a Pittsburgh win. That virtually guaranteed the Pittsburgh loss, and quarterback Tom Brady had choice words for Smith after the game was no longer in doubt.
“I don’t care to repeat what I said, especially if my mother reads it,” Brady said after the game. “She wouldn’t be very happy.”
The Jets shot their shot, losing 20-10. Down went the Dolphins (again) 28-7. And then perfection arrived with the memorable 38-35 Saturday night special, a game that laid the foundation for the eventual loss to the Giants in an Arizona rematch.
Second, many still regard the 9-1 Chiefs as the best team in the league, and they believe that the Chiefs would beat the Steelers if they cross paths. It’s that simple, and the theory can’t be tested until January, if/when they meet in the playoffs.
Third, the Steelers lack a true offensive superstar player who captures the imagination of fans and media. There’s no Patrick Mahomes or Kyler Murray or Lamar Jackson. It’s all very systematic, without flash. The Steelers have a bunch of very-good-to-great players, but no one that makes for must-see TV. At least not yet.
And yet still they keep winning. As they keep winning, the games will get no easier. And it’s still more likely than not that they’ll eventually lose.
For now, though, the Steelers remain on track for perfection. Even if not nearly enough people notice, or care.