Pittsburgh Steelers fans are witnessing the end of an era in 2021. Ben Roethlisberger has all but said this is his final season with the team and he is doing all he can to get back into the postseason one more time.
The Steelers enter Week 16 with a record of 7-6-1, putting them in the Wild Card and AFC North race with three weeks to go. In the past, Steelers fans would have no doubts about doing what needed to be done to reach the playoffs.
Roethlisberger also had dominant skill players around him in his prime and perhaps the best unit was the "Killer B's" featuring Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell.
Roethlisberger is now attempting to make a run with Najee Harris and Chase Claypool as his top sidekicks. Meanwhile, fans are going to be shocked at the sight of Bell and Brown teaming up again, this time in Tampa Bay with Tom Brady.
Steelers fans are left with so many "what if?" questions about what could have been if their core offensive unit stayed together.
How the Steelers lost Bell and Brown
The trio teamed up in 2013 when Bell arrived in Pittsburgh. That year marked when Brown really started to emerge as a star with 1,499 yards and eight touchdowns.
This started an era of dominance that lasted through the 2017 season, as Bell ended up sitting out all of 2018 over a contract dispute with the Steelers.
Unfortunately, the Steelers only advanced as far as the AFC Championship Game with the three B's.
Bell, Brown, and Ben would have fantastic regular seasons, only to fall short in the postseason.
So it's not like Steelers fans are now seeing the greatest skilled players in team history teaming up with Brady and the Buccaneers. However, Brady remains a rival in Pittsburgh from his days with the New England Patriots and fans have been left wondering how it can work with him but not with Roethlisberger in the recent past.
There are other circumstances to consider in this discussion as well. Brown was clearly dealing with personal issues when he left Pittsburgh and it looks like Brady was the one who was able to reel him in.
For Bell, his decision to sit out a year may have come from bad advice more than anything else.
Both are in unique situations with the Buccaneers as well. Brown is returning after a suspension for a fake vaccination card, which doesn't exactly help his reputation within the organization.
But Chris Godwin is out for the season and Brady needs help.
Bell is showing up as an insurance policy and basically gets a three-week tryout for the postseason while Leonard Fournette recovers from a hamstring injury.
But let's say it all goes well for the trio. That creates a new "Killer B's" group of Brady, Brown, and Bell. That alone is enough to make Steelers fans sick as they watch the postseason play out.