Can the First 6 Games Tell Us Whether Or Not the Steelers Will Make the Postseason in 2021?

Steelers Record After 6 Games Under Mike Tomlin

By Jeremy Hritz

The Steelers have a bye after their 6th game in 2021, which is probably too early for the team’s liking with the unavoidable possibility of injuries. Heading into the bye week this season, I contemplated whether or not 6 games was enough to make a forecast about the likelihood of the team making the postseason or not. With that said, I compiled the record after 6 games for all of Tomlin’s teams, dating back to his first year in 2007, all the way up to the frustrating season of 2020. The results, while not super surprising, do give some credence to the importance of starting the year strong.

Record for Tomlin’s Postseason Teams After 6 Games

In 14 seasons, 9 of Tomlin’s squads have made the postseason, with an average record of 4.3 wins and 1.875 losses, which converted into reality is equivalent to a 4-2 record. In fact, there is only one instance of a Tomlin team finishing at .500 after 6 games making the postseason, and that was in 2014 when the team went 3-3 in their quest to discover an offensive identity, in which they did with the genesis of the Killer Bs. In both of their Super Bowl appearances, they finished 6 games with a 5-1 record. Only once did the team finish 6-0, and that was this past season when the team finished 12-4 and lost to the Browns in the Divisional Round at home.

Trends of the Non-Playoff Seasons

In 5 of Tomlin’s 14 seasons, the Steelers missed the playoffs with an average record of 2.8 wins, 3 losses, and .02 ties, which converts to a 3-3 record. In only one season did a Tomlin non-playoff squad finish 4-2, and that was the “Unleash Hell” season in 2009. Tomlin’s worst record for 6 games is 2-4, which occurred twice, once in 2013 and also in 2019.

What Does It All Mean?

While not completely definitive, there is enough statistical evidence to indicate that a record of 4-2 is the indicator for a postseason ticket for the Steelers under Tomlin. Conversely, a 3-3 record or worse, is a signal that the team will be on the outside looking in. As the team approaches the bye week in 2021, remember this study, and see if the argument is strengthened or weakened. Here’s to hoping the Steelers are 4-2 or better!

Tomlin’s Record After 6 Games

YearRecordFinal Record/Postseason
20074-210-6/Yes, lost at home in Wild Card Round to Jacksonville, 31-29
20085-112-4/Yes, won Super Bowl against Arizona, 27-23
20105-112-4/Yes, lost Super Bowl to Green Bay, 31-25
20114-212-4/Yes, lost Wild Card Round to Denver, 29-23
20143-311-5/Yes, lost Wild Card Round to Baltimore, 30-17
20154-210-6/Yes, lost in Divisional Round to Denver, 23-16
20164-211-5/Yes, lost in AFC Championship Game to New England, 36-17
20174-213-3/Yes, lost in Divisional Round to Jacksonville, 45-42
20206-012-4/Yes, lost in Wild Card Round to Cleveland, 48-37
3.78 wins, 2.14 losses
14 total seasons53-30-19 postseason appearances
Steelers First 6 Games Under Mike Tomlin

2 thoughts on “Can the First 6 Games Tell Us Whether Or Not the Steelers Will Make the Postseason in 2021?

    1. Agreed. So much promise and the table set, but just not able to finish the job. And you look at the opponents—WFT, Cincy minus Burrow!—disappointing. Thanks for commenting, Ken!

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