Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

The Steelers success coming out of the bye… and beyond

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming out of their 2023 by week looking to stack wins and keep up with the rest of the AFC North. While the Steelers record coming out of the bye under head coach Mike Tomlin has been well documented, with the team going 12–4 in his 16 seasons, there are several factors that are involved when it comes to this record. Whether the Steelers were at home or on the road is a factor as well as the quality of their opponent.

But how have the Steelers finished the rest of the regular season following the bye since 2007?

With the bye week being a time of reflection and self evaluation, finishing the season stronger than what it began is something teams obviously strive to do. On the most recent episode of the Steelers Stat Geek podcast, I reviewed the Steelers record heading into the bye each year under head coach Mike Tomlin as well as the Steelers record following the bye each year through the rest of the regular season. The results are as follows:

2022: 2-6 before, 7-2 after
2021: 3-3 before, 6-4-1 after
2020: 3-0 before, 9-4 after
2019: 2-4 before, 6-4 after
2018: 3-2-1 before, 6-4 after
2017: 6-2 before, 7-1 after
2016: 4-3 before, 7-2 after
2015: 6-4 before, 4-2 after
2014: 7-4 before, 4-1 after
2013: 0-4 before, 8-4 after
2012: 1-2 before, 7-6 after
2011: 7-3 before. 5-1 after
2010: 3-1 before, 9-3 after
2009: 5-2 before, 4-5 after
2008: 4-1 before, 8-3 after
2007: 4-1 before, 6-5 after

The first thing that stands out is the Pittsburgh Steelers have only had a non-winning record following the bye week one time under head coach Mike Tomlin. That one season was in 2009, meaning the Steelers have had 13-straight seasons of winning records between their bye week and the end of the regular season.

Additionally, the Steelers have only had a record following their bye to the end of the regular season that was below .600 four of the 16 seasons. Obviously the 2009 season where the Steelers were 4–5 is one, as well as Tomlin‘s first season in 2007 where they were 6–5 (.545). The other two seasons were in 2012 where the Steelers were 7–6 (.538), and two years ago in 2021 when the Steelers were 6–4–1 (.591).

Even more, the Steelers posted a better winning percentage following the bye week then before the bye week 11 of Tomlin’s 16 seasons. The first three years with Tomlin as coach the Steelers they did not have a better record following the bye, and in 2010 they had the exact same winning percentage as they went from being 3–1 to then being 9–3. Since that season, the Steelers have had a better winning percentage out of the bye week every year from 2011 through 2022 with the exception of the 2020 season.

But the 2020 season is an anomaly in many ways. First, although the Steelers technically had a bye week in Week 4 they really didn’t as it was thrust upon them at the last moment after a week of preparation as the Tennessee Titans could not play the game due to issues with the COVID-19 pandemic. So not only did the Steelers have an extremely early bye, the reason they did not have a better winning percentage coming out of the bye is because it was mathematically impossible. With the Steelers sitting at 3–0 before the bye week, they actually more than doubled their wins before they had another loss. So having a record of 9–4 after the bye with a .692 winning percentage is not the blemish it appears.

If looking at the Steelers history following the bye week over the last decade, following suit by having a winning record this season would have the Steelers going at least 7–5 down the stretch, pushing their final record to at least 10–7. Whether or not this Steelers team can make the necessary improvements over the bye week and finish their season in this manner is something we’ll all have to tune in to see.

For more on the Steelers success before the bye versus after the bye, including looking at rankings over the past five seasons, check out the most recent episode of the Steelers Stat Geek podcast below:

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