Money is not the driving force when it comes to motivating Pittsburgh Steelers star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick these days; he wants to avenge the “embarrassing” playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite moving up a few tax brackets when it comes to his bank account this offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is only fueled by rage from the “embarrassing” playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
To be fair, the 2021 Steelers were the No. 7 seed playing on the road in the AFC Wild Card round to the No. 2-seeded Chiefs. While playoff expansion has been tremendous from a television-viewing perspective, no No. 7 seed has ever beaten a No. 2 seed. The last team getting into the postseason in either conference has been nothing short of dog food in the first round thus far.
The Steelers’ well-compensated safety is no longer motivated by money, only beating the Chiefs.
“I don’t think necessarily the money motivates us, but just how we conduct ourselves,” said Fitzpatrick to reporters in the wake of him signing his massive contract extension. “Obviously, last year was not to our standards at all. I know myself, T.J., Cam, all of us were not happy or pleased at all with the way the season ended. Especially in that playoff game, [it] was an embarrassment, honestly. Not our typical selves. That’s what motivates us.”
Minkah Fitzpatrick clearly motivated by bad playoff loss to Kansas City Chiefs
It remains to be seen how good the Steelers will be this upcoming season. They are a team with a great deal of variance. Should Mitch Trubisky or rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett play up to their respective draft statuses, Pittsburgh can contend in a deep AFC North race. If both signal-callers struggle, Pittsburgh has a chance to be the worst team in one of the better divisions in football.
The good news is the well-compensated defense led by Fitzpatrick, Cam Hayward and T.J. Watt should be able to keep the Steelers in games. However, this unit did give up an absurd amount of points to the Chiefs at Arrowhead in the playoffs. These sort of things happen, but for Pittsburgh to live up to lofty expectations this fall, this undoubtedly has to be a defense-led football team.
Ultimately, it is a tricky proposition to pay three key defensive players all that cash. If it works out for the Steelers, especially with up to five years of control with Pickett’s contract, that would be wonderful. Conversely, the Steelers have to avoid being the AFC equivalent of the Chicago Bears, a team with so many great players on defense making so much money the offense is largely pitiful.
The good news for the Steelers is they are a well-run organization, led by motivated star players.