It might sound crazy to compare a team that won the Super Bowl to a team that we haven’t even seen play a real game yet. That’s understandable. But it’s impossible to deny the fact that the two football teams have some similarities, on paper at least.
Second-Year Quarterback Coming Into His Own
In 2005-06, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a ripe young quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who promised big and delivered even bigger when he pleaded with running back Jerome Bettis to come back for one more year. The Steelers fell just short the year prior and were hungrier than ever in the 2005-2006 season.
Fast forward to the current day and Kenny Pickett is at the helm in Pittsburgh. The Steelers just barely missed the playoffs last year in a year where everyone doubted they could compete, and while the AFC is incredible in today’s NFL, Kenny Pickett looks ready to run right into the fire after his stellar preseason. Both Quarterbacks had a good security blanket tight end from Penn State too in Heath Miller and Pat Freiermuth.
Two-Headed Monster In The Running Back Room
Contrary to popular belief amongst the Steelers fans on the site formerly known as Twitter, you can love both running backs. Najee Harris seems to have found a partner in crime this offseason in Jaylen Warren, who showed spurts of his ability last year and has had a great camp and preseason this year. Warren took a handoff 62 yards for a touchdown in the second preseason game that had Steelers fans ready to trade Harris. Fans have called them Thunder & Lightning, which is pretty fitting.
Just like this Steelers team, the 05-06 Steelers had a good one-two punch in the backfield. Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker had their own little Thunder & Lightning thing going on. The Bus was the goalline punisher, and Fast Willie had what seemed like another gear he could hit when he got the chance.
This one shouldn’t need a lot of explanation, but we’ll run through it anyway. You remember all the studs from the 05-06 defense. Maybe not as daunting as the 2008-2009 team that potentially fields the best team defense ever. The 05-06 team featured studs like Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Clark Haggans, James Farrior, Larry Foote, Joey Porter, Ike Taylor, Deshea Townsend, Brett Keisel, Bryant McFadden, and of course Troy Polamalu. Absolute studs. How could we forget about a young James Harrison on that defense?
We know how great this 2023 defense could be if they stay healthy and some guys step up. Led by TJ Watt, Cam Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, they field a lot of studs themselves. Larry Ogunjobi, Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden, Nick Herbig, Kwon Alexander, Elandon Roberts, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, and the son of a guy that was on that 05-06 team, Joey Porter Jr. Not guaranteeing this defense will be as good as the legends of 2005. Still, on paper, they certainly get close to stacking up. It’s a squad.
The Difference Between The Steelers Teams
The difference we found between the two teams? How Vegas viewed them. To open the year in 2005, the Steelers odds to win the Super Bowl sat at +1200. This year, as it stands currently, Fanduel Sportsbook has the Steelers odds at +4500. Vegas doesn’t believe in these Steelers like they did in 2005.
The 2005-2006 Steelers went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. That was in a different NFL though. This rendition of the Steelers will face a tough road in the AFC if they want to make a trip to Vegas for this year’s Super Bowl.
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