Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Archive for January, 2012

Steelers pre-Super Bowl update

January 31, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

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.

Ravens lose to Patriots in AFC Championship

January 22, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

There are few things that I enjoy more than a Pittsburgh Steelers victory.  But one of them is a loss by the Baltimore Ravens.

So as you might guess, the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game made me a very happy man.  The only thing that would have been better than a loss by the Ravens would have been if somehow both teams had lost.  But I still haven’t figured out a way for that to happen, so I guess I’ll have to settle for the Ravens’ loss.

The Ravens and Patriots are probably the two teams that most Steelers fans hate most.  So watching the Ravens go down put a smile on lots of faces in Pittsburgh.  The only thing that can make this even better is if the New York Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.  That will be like getting two for the price of one.

The Ravens had an opportunity to tie the game, but their kicker missed a 32 yard field goal that even I could have made.  I would have almost felt bad for Ravens fans if I hadn’t been so busy laughing at them.  Bwahahahaha!

I keep watching SportsCenter to see if they’ll show a shot of Ray Lewis, or Ed Reed, or Haloti Ngata crying.  That will be absolutely priceless.

It’s getting late, and I’m really tired.  But I refuse to go to bed until I see Ray Lewis in tears.

Go Steelers!

Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians retires

January 20, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Bruce Arians’ time as offensive coordinator for the Steelers was filled with exciting plays and baffling ones.  And it’s those baffling plays that made Arians a frequent target of angry Steelers fans.

The Steelers announced today that Arians will be retiring.  That means that Steelers fans won’t be able to blame Arians for the team’s losses anymore.

Arians’ days as offensive coordinator were a mixed bag.  He will always be remembered as the guy who unleashed Ben Roethlisberger.  Prior to Arians, Roethlisberger had been seen as more of a “game manager” than a franchise quarterback.  Bill Cowher and Ken Whisenhunt consciously worked to keep Big Ben’s pass attempts low.

But when Bruce Arians took over, he let Roethlisberger throw the ball early and often.  Roethlisberger broke most Steelers passing records, and his passing also led to the emergence of Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, and Emmanuel Sanders.

But on the flip side, Arians seemed to eschew the running game.  He often called for pass plays when a running play would have been a safer option.  And when he did call for running plays, they were usually predictable, and almost always to the right side of the field.  If fans at home were able to predict where the ball was going, then the defense probably could too.

But perhaps the worst aspect of Arians’ play calling was his success (or lack thereof) in the red zone.  Arians’ offense seemed to be highly effective over most of the field, but once the Steelers got inside the 20 yard line, the offense came to a screeching halt.  Arians seemed to be content to settle for field goals when touchdowns should have been the goal.

This practice was particularly egregious to Steelers fans who had grown up watching Jerome Bettis successfully get the tough yards.  Fans couldn’t understand why the team often struggled to gain one yard, and then inevitably settle for a field goal.

After each of the past two seasons, the Rooney family has said that they wanted to see Arians (and Tomlin) re-emphasize the running game and improve the team’s effectiveness within the red zone.  And repeatedly the Steelers failed to do so.  So while this is being called a “retirement”, some believe that the Rooneys may have encouraged Arians to retire.  Even Ed Bouchette, the Steelers beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggested as much.

So while we’ll probably never know whether Arians’ retirement was completely voluntary, we do know that the Steelers will have a new offensive coordinator next season.

The off-season just got even more interesting.

A dilemma for Steelers fans

January 20, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Webster’s Dictionary defines a “dilemma” as “a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives”, or “a usually undesirable or unpleasant choice”.

Steeler Nation faces a dilemma on Sunday.  And I’m certain that I’m not the only Steelers fan who has lost sleep thinking about it.

The Baltimore Ravens will face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.  That thought alone is the stuff of nightmares for the average Steelers fan.  But it gets even worse.  Which team do you want to see win this game?  See the problem?

That’s where the dilemma comes in.  Posing that question to a Steelers fan is like asking someone which group they like more, the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan.  It’s like asking which they’d find more enjoyable; having their arm bit off by a lion, or having their leg bit off by a shark.  Both answers are highly undesirable.

If you ask any Steelers fan which NFL team they hate the most, the Ravens and the Patriots are both likely to be among their top 3 answers.  So supporting either team is highly undesirable.

If a Steelers fan says that they want the Patriots to win, that means that they’re tacitly rooting for pretty boy Brady, “The Hoodie”, and the rest of the Cheatriots.

Personally, I believe that Spygate may have cost the Steelers a Super Bowl ring, so I’ll never forgive the Patriots for that.  Therefore, I’ll never root for them (unless a victory by the Patriots somehow helps the Steelers).

On the other hand, rooting for the Ravens means supporting Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and the rest of the thugs from Baltimore.  That’s NEVER going to happen.

So what is a Steelers fan to do on Sunday.  Personally, I’ve been trying to think of a way that both teams could lose.  That would be the ideal outcome.  Perhaps an asteroid could collide with the field while the games is going on and smash both teams.  Or maybe somewhere in the fine print of the NFL rule book, there’s an obscure, seldom used rule (like the “tuck rule”), that will allow the game to end with neither team being declared the victor.  Can a playoff game end in a tie?  And if so, does that mean that both teams would be eliminated?  That would be an acceptable outcome, but I doubt that it will happen.

Frankly, I’d love to see the Ravens sack Tom Brady 30 times.  And I’d also love to see the Patriots score 50 points and humiliate the Ravens’ defense.  But either scenario would force me to subconsciously support one of the two hated foes, and I just won’t do that.

So now you understand the dilemma facing Steelers fans.

Hmmmmmm, I wonder if there are any asteroids heading towards Foxboro?

Patriots do what Steelers should have done

January 15, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

The New England Patriots did what the Steelers should have done last week; they beat Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.

The Patriots routed the Broncos 45-10, and now move on to play the winner of the Baltimore Ravens/Houston Texans game.

The Patriots held Tim Tebow to only 136 passing yards, and only allowed him to complete 9 of his 26 pass attempts.  At the end of the 1st half, the Patriots had more points (35) than Tebow had passing yards (28).

Compare that to what the Steelers did against Tebow.  The Steelers looked like they were determined to prove that Tebow was the second coming of Dan Marino.

What makes the Patriots win even more painful is that I feel confident that the Steelers could have beaten the Patriots.  After all, the Steelers manhandled the Patriots during the regular season.

If things had gone differently, the Steelers might be getting ready to play the winner of the other AFC semifinal (most likely Baltimore).  I would have loved to have seen the Steelers get another shot at the Ravens.

I know that It’s useless to dwell on what could have been.  Nevertheless, I have a hard time forgetting how things could have been if only…………

Oh well.  We’ll get them next year.

Go Steelers!