The Pittsburgh Steelers were in the rare position of sitting at home for the playoffs at the conclusion of the 2012 season, and the team has been questioned since they failed to make the postseason. The pressure on players and coaches in Pittsburgh is unlike most teams in the league. Making the playoffs is the expectation in Pittsburgh, not a happy surprise that comes around once every few seasons.
That fact may be the reason the team seems to be crumbling under its own weight. No pun intended, although you'll understand that pun in just a moment.
An anonymous player told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that linebacker LaMarr Woodley "was awful."
"He tells us he works out, but we didn't see it. He wasn't in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt."
The outburst has left many wondering whether the Steelers are beginning to show signs of age, and I'm not talking about their physical age as a team. The roster has been re-tooled endlessly, but it's been a very long time since the team was truly rebuilt. That re-tooling process has served the team well over the years, but in recent years, the team has seemingly become a static group of players, and that's now how you stay on top in the NFL.
This overt shot at Woodley wasn't exactly a friendly jab, but to think it will have long-term repercussions within the team is foolish. It does, however, highlight what could be growing unrest within the team's locker room, and that needs to be addressed before it becomes cancerous.