I haven’t felt like writing about the Steelers since their stunning loss to the Denver Broncos. However, a few things have happened since then that I should probably mention.
Super Bowl will still be held
Most Steelers fans have a difficult time understanding why they do it, but the NFL chooses to hold the Super Bowl even when the Steelers get eliminated from the playoffs.
It makes absolutely no sense to me. After all, is it really a “Super” Bowl if the Steelers aren’t in it?
The “non-Super” Bowl will be held this Sunday. I’m not really sure which teams will be playing in it. Frankly, I don’t care. The Steelers aren’t in it, so it may as well be the Motor City Bowl, or the Outback Bowl.
NFL Pro Bowl
The NFL hosted their annual Pro Bowl this past Sunday. Most of you probably didn’t know that, since only 3 households in America actually tuned in and watched the game. One of those was Roger Goodell’s household. The other two were people who mistakenly tuned in to the Pro Bowl while they were flipping through the channels searching for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
It never ceases to amaze me that the NFL is the most popular sport in America, yet it hosts the most boring all-star game of the 4 major sports. The game is so uninteresting that half the guys voted to the team don’t even go.
The Pro Bowl has so little support from the players that they had to pay the winners an NFL record $50,000 per player. Who would have ever thought that players would have to be paid $50,000 in order to take a free trip to Hawaii? I guess that says all you need to know about the Pro Bowl.
By the way, a few Steelers played in the Pro Bowl. Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger were among them. But who cares?
Casey Hampton has surgery
Nose tackle Casey Hampton had surgery on his ACL. He injured his ACL during the Steelers’ playoff loss to the Denver Broncos.
Hampton has always had difficulty staying in shape during the off-season. This will make it even more difficult.
It won’t really matter though. Hampton won’t be back next year. He’s scheduled to make $4.8 million next year, but he’ll count for $8 million against the salary cap.
The Steelers are $25 million over the cap, and are going to have to make some tough decisions on aging veterans. Casey Hampton will likely be a casualty of those decisions.
Chris Hoke retires
Back-up nose tackle Chris Hoke announced his retirement. Hoke joined the team the same year that they drafted starter Casey Hampton, and he served as his back-up for the entire time.
Hoke was known for being able to come in and play at a level that was almost as good as Hampton. When Hoke was in the game, the Steelers always played at a very high level.
Anyone who has ever attended Steelers training camp knows that training camp didn’t REALLY start until Chris Hoke took the center of the field and did his annual dance. Fans would go crazy each time Hoke did his dance. It was always viewed as the unofficial start of training camp.
Thanks for the memories Chris. Despite being a back-up for your entire career, you were just like a starter in most of our minds. When you entered the game, the standard was always upheld. You will be missed.
Bruce Arians retires…..and unretires
The Steelers announced that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had retired. The only problem is that they failed to tell the public that Arians had “retired” because the team refused to renew his contract.
Head coach Mike Tomlin had asked Arians to come back, and Arians had accepted. He even told the other coaches and some of the players (including Ben Roethlisberger) that he’d be returning for another season.
However, Steelers’ president Art Rooney II had other ideas. He didn’t offer Arians a new contract, which is the nice way of saying that he fired him. Instead of announcing that Arians had been fired, the Steelers announced that he had “retired”.
The odd thing about the announcement was that Arians didn’t make the announcement himself, nor did he talk to the press following the announcement.
What made it even more odd (and more obvious what had actually happened), was when Arians unretired 8 days later, when it was announced that he would be joining the Indianapolis Colts as their offensive coordinator.
This is a great opportunity for Arians. He’ll either get to call plays for Peyton Manning, or he’ll get to groom Andrew Luck. Either option would be very appealing to a pass-first offensive coordinator like Arians.
Good luck, Bruce. Despite the hard time that you received from fans (and from me), your offense was one of the most exciting in Steelers’ history.