The 2020 Steelers have won in just about every form and fashion. They've had one blowout, one other double-digit win and several other games that weren't decided until the game's final minutes. They've had to hold off late rallies by the opposition on a few occasions, and, as was the case on Sunday, to depend on their own rally to leave the stadium with a win.
Regardless of how they've won, the fact is that the 2020 Steelers have yet to suffer the taste of defeat. Through eight games, the Steelers for the first time in franchise history remain undefeated. Pittsburgh is now the 28th team to win at least its first eight games during the Super Bowl era. Fifteen of those teams have reached the Super Bowl, with seven teams hosting the Lombardi Trophy.
Will the 2020 Steelers become the eighth 8-0 team to win the Super Bowl? While that remains to be seen, here are the records Pittsburgh has already set following Sunday's win in Dallas.
'78 Steelers record snapped
The 7-0 run by the 1978 Steelers served as the franchise's best start until this season. The '78 Steelers, a team that was comprised of 10 future Hall of Fame players, saw their winning streak end in Houston in Week 8 as rookie sensation Earl Campbell's three touchdowns gave the Oilers a 24-17 win on "Monday Night Football." The Steelers would lose just one more time during the regular season, then defeat Denver and Houston in the playoffs before dispatching the Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII.
In celebration of the league's centennial anniversary last fall, the NFL dubbed the '78 Steelers as the third greatest team in league history. While the 2020 Steelers currently fall short of the '78 team, they will rightfully earn a seat at the table of the franchise's all-time great teams if they able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa on February 7.
As far as the franchise regular-season wins record is concerned, the 2020 Steelers would have to win at least 15 games to match the '04 Steelers' record. Pittsburgh went 15-1 that season before losing to the Patriots in the AFC title game. The following season, Pittsburgh became the first six-seed to win the Super Bowl.
Steelers extend streak of non-losing seasons
By virtue of Sunday's win, the Steelers have secured themselves a 17th straight non-losing season. The last time the Steelers failed to reach .500 was in 2003 when Pittsburgh went 6-10. The following spring, the Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th overall pick. Since then, the Steelers have won 175 regular season games while averaging 10.4 regular season wins per year prior to the start of the 2020 season.
Pittsburgh's streak is the NFL's second-longest active streak. The longest streak currently belongs to the Patriots, whose 19 consecutive non-losing season streak is in jeopardy following New England's 3-5 start.
Tomlin ties Schottenheimer
With Sunday's 24-19 win over the Cowboys, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin tied Marty Schottenheimer with 14 consecutive non-losing seasons to start a career. Schottenheimer, who began his head coaching career with the Browns before joining the Chiefs, did not endure a losing record from 1984-97. During that span, Schottenheimer guided Cleveland to consecutive AFC title games before leading Kansas City to within a game of the Super Bowl in 1993.
Tomlin, who was just 34 years old when be succeeded Bill Cowher as the Steelers' head coach, has led the Steelers to eight playoff appearances, six division titles, four AFC title games, three AFC championships and a victory over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Tomlin, who on Sunday won his 149th game as the Steelers' head coach, was asked to discuss the significance of his team's 8-0 start.
"It's significant as we sit here today," Tomlin said, via the team's official website. "Once I go to work tomorrow it will be less significant. We will be singularly focused on getting ready for our next AFC North opponent. That's life. I am appreciative of it but we're not going to dwell on it. We've got big time business coming up with AFC North ball."
Ben breaks regular season record
On Sunday, Roethlisberger, who earlier this season broke Hall of Fame center Mike Webster's record for the most games played in franchise history, became the first NFL player to be on 17 non-losing teams without ever being on a losing team. Former NFL linemen Frank Winters and Gene Hickerson had 16 straight non-losing seasons, while former Steelers linebacker James Harrison had 15 non-losing seasons during his decorated career, according to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. Tom Brady, who played a major role in the Patriots' 19-year run of excellence, spent his rookie season on a New England team that went 5-11.
Roethlisberger suffered a scare on Sunday after suffering a hit to his left knee during the second quarter. Roethlisberger, after briefly leaving the game, returned to lead three fourth-quarter scoring drives that included the game-winning touchdown pass to Eric Ebron. Sunday's game marked the third game-winning drive this season led by Roethlisberger, who now has 53 game-winning drives in his career.
Roethlisberger passes Marino
After throwing for 306 yards in Sunday's win over the Cowboys, Roethlisberger passed Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino for sixth all-time with 68 career 300-yard games. Sunday marked Big Ben's second 300-yard game of the season and his first since Pittsburgh's Week 2 win over the Broncos. While he is not on pace to break his single-season high for passing yards, Roethlisberger is on pace to eclipse his franchise record 34 touchdown passes set in 2018. Roethlisberger, who is completing a career-high 68.1% of his passes, is on pace to throw his fewest amount of interceptions for a 16-game season.
Depth at the skill positions is one of the main reasons for Roethlisberger's success. The Steelers' deep receiving corps includes JuJu Smith-Schuster (45 catches, 439 yards, four touchdowns), rookie Chase Claypool (31 catches, 444 yards, seven total touchdowns), Diontae Johnson (31 catches, three touchdowns), James Washington (18 catches, three touchdowns) and Ebron (29 catches, three touchdowns). James Conner, the Steelers' starting running back, is on pace to rush for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Conner has had success running behind an offensive line that includes three former Pro Bowlers in center Maurkice Pouncey, guard David DeCastro and tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
Boswell bests Anderson, Brown
The franchise record for longest field goal stood for 36 years until it was broken by Chris Boswell just before halftime of Sunday's game. Boswell, whose previous career long was 53 yards, booted a 59-yard kick during the first half of Sunday's game. The previous record of 55 yards was initially set by Gary Anderson in 1984 and matched by Kris Brown in 2001.
Pittsburgh's kicker since 2015, Boswell recently passed Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris for fourth all-time on the Steelers' career scoring list.
Sack streak continued
Rookie outside linebacker Alex Highsmith's sack during the first half of Sunday's game increased the Steelers' franchise record streak of games with at least one sack to 65. Pittsburgh currently leads the NFL with 32 sacks. The NFL team record for most consecutive games with a sack belongs to the Buccaneers, who tallied at least one sack in 69 straight games from October 10, 1999 to November 9, 2003, according to the Steelers' public relations department. Ironically, Mike Tomlin was a member of Tampa Bay's staff during part of that streak, as Tomlin served on Jon Gruden's coaching staff when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.
T.J. Watt leads the Steelers with seven sacks, while fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree and defensive end Stephon Tuitt each have six sacks. The Steelers' defense has also received solid contributions from three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, inside linebacker Vince Williams, three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, a 2019 Pro Bowler who recorded two interceptions in Sunday's win.