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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lights Out For Steelers In San Francisco

The Pittsburgh Steelers hopes for another AFC North title were dimmed Monday night in San Francisco. Even before the San Francisco 49ers stadium went dark, Steelers fans were concerned about their chances to win. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was already nursing a broken thumb and a high ankle sprain that would have kept most players out of the game. As tough as Ben is there was a lot of speculation he might not start. He hadn't practiced since the ankle injury, but there he was hobbling unto the field anyway.

Ben received a shot for pain in the locker room that the Steelers hoped would last the whole game. When the lights went out before the opening kickoff, the 20 minute delay made that doubtful. Ben was off on his passes early in the game and he threw 2 interceptions. The Steelers defense was able to stop the 49ers from scoring touchdowns both times resulting in just two field goals. The the lights went out again. This time the game was delayed 15 minutes.

Steelers fans could sense the game was turning in favor of the forty niners. It looked like the offense would be unable to score and the 49ers seemed to be always working with a short field. You just can't give a good team those kinds of chances. The 49ers’first touchdown came after Roethlisberger’s fumble was aided by a highly questionable Steelers penalty. Pittsburgh’s defense initially held the 49ers to a field goal on the drive, but the Steelers were called for unsportsmanlike conduct for leaping in an attempt to block the kick. Replays didn’t appear to support that call, and the 49ers took advantage by scoring a touchdown following the penalty. Just as it wasn’t a good night for Roethlisberger, it wasn’t a good night for the officials.

This loss represents a huge missed opportunity for the Steelers. When the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans both lost on Sunday, it thrust the Steelers into a position where all they had to do was win their remaining three games to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. But tonight’s 20-3 loss to the 49ers drops the Steelers back behind the Ravens in the AFC North, and now the Steelers appear to be a wild card team, likely headed for Denver and a date with the Denver Broncos in the first round of the playoffs.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Injured Ben Roethlisberger Inspires Steelers To 14-3 Win!

Already smarting from a broken thumb and wearing a splint on his throwing hand, might be enough to inspire any team to victory. But the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback showed how tough he really is when he experienced an unexpected injury that would have sidelined most players. Ben Roethlisberger was not going to let his team down in a game the Steelers needed to stay ahead of the Baltimore Ravens for the lead in the AFC north division.

The 9-3 Steelers were favorite to beat the 4-8 Cleveland Browns on Sunday and resume their march toward another playoff appearance . The crowd at Heinz field was glad to see Big Ben put together a masterful drive to give the Steelers a 7-3 lead before half-time. But, with less than 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, Ben was sacked and was unable to get up. After being looked at on the field, he was helped to the locker room for x-rays.

It seemed like all the air was sucked out of the stadium. No one knew if he could even return to the sidelines, let alone play the second half. Back up Charlie Batch filled in, but was ineffective. Roethlisberger wasn't the only Steeler injured in the first half. All-pro center, Maurkice Pouncey also left the game with a leg injury and didn't return.

To everyone's surprise Big Ben limped unto the field to start the 2nd half. Apparently he had a high ankle sprain but wanted to play anyway. With his ankle, shoe and lower leg heavily taped, he inspired his offensive linemen to give him the protection he needed to finish the game. After throwing an interception that almost cost them the lead, he found Antonio Brown down the sidelines for a touchdown that sealed the win.

It should be noted that Pouncey also had a high ankle sprain and Troy Polamalu had a slight hamstring injury. At one point in the game it looked like Polamalu was having safety Ryan Clark pull on his arm as if he had a dislocation. At least the Steelers will have 10 days to heal before they have to play the 10-2 San Francisco 49ers on NFL Monday Night Football.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Bad Win Is A Win, Maybe

Now that the dust has settled and I am ready to comment on what I saw Sunday, I hope the Steelers take some lessons from this game that will help them reach the playoffs. The amazing thing is that the Pittsburgh Steelers did escape with a 13-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The highly favored Steelers who barely got out of Arrowhead with a victory, find themselves tied again with the Baltimore Ravens at 8-3 on top the AFC North conference.

With dropped passes by Heath Miller and Mike Wallace, a costly interception by Ben Roethlisberger and a lack-lustre performance by one of the top defenses in the NFL, they still won! The offense started out fine and it looked like Pittsburgh was going to steam roll the Chiefs. But, with the above mistakes and some stupid penalties thrown in, the outcome was in doubt the whole 2nd half.

The usually dependable Steelers defense lost it's energy when all pro strong safety, Troy Polamalu went out with concussion symptoms on an ill-advise head first tackle. After that, it was like the air went out of them and they reverted to a very base and conservative defense. The defense did have 4 take aways and help preserve the victory. Even though this bad win is still a win, it could be costly if Polamalu is lost, even for one game.

With the 7-4 Cincinnati Bengals and the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers next on their schedule, the Steelers will have to perform at a much higher level. Getting Polamalu and Lamarr Woodley back will greatly improve their chances and victories over those two teams could solidify a playoff berth. Improvements on offense and defense are the order of the day. Steeler fans hope to see a better game next week. Remember Tomlin, time is running out!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thumbs Up For Ben Roethlisbeger,He's Tough!

Ben Roethlisberger did not miss a snap as the Pittsburgh Steelers advanced to 7-3. He completed 7 of 11 pass attempts for 70 yards in the 2nd half, which included a perfect 4-for-4 during the game-winning drive in the 3rd quarter. Big Ben seriously injured the thumb on his passing hand at some point during Pittsburgh’s 24-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. He is not certain just when it occurred, only that he recognized it while coming out for the 2nd half.

“It hurt, but Steelers head trainer John Norwig did a great job taping it up, making a quick splint out of tape so I could go on it. ” Roethlisberger said. “Squeezing the ball is the hardest part, but it’s a good thing that I had a glove on it because that helps gripping it a little bit. ” “It was hard to determine it on the sideline, but we did all the tests Monday, and it’s fractured in there, ” Ben said.

This is not the 1st time Big Ben has performed with a broken thumb. He experienced a similar injury in 2005, even though it did not stop him from leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to their 5th Super Bowl championship. There ought to be no problems this time either, though Roethlisberger will continue to play with a splint. Pittsburgh journeys to the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 27.

It is not uncommon for Ben Roethlisberger to play with minor injuries. He experienced a sprained foot in a loss to The Houston Texans on Oct. 2nd then tied a team record with 5 TD passes in a win over The Tennessee Titans. “That’s just Ben, ” Mike Wallace said. “You know that something small isn’t going to slow him down like that. ”.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers Back On Top!

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-17 in their first meeting this season. The 6-3 Bengals competed all game long and the Steelers had to work hard to secure the win. The best thing about the win is that it helps to erase the pain of losing the 2nd time to their other division rivals, the 6-3 Baltimore Ravens. The AFC North is the only division in the NFL with three teams having at least 3 wins half way through the season. Right now the Steelers are on top.

The Steelers have one more win than the other two team because they haven't had a bye week yet. Ironically the Steelers will have their bye week this week while Baltimore and Cincinnati play each other. That game could determine which team is on top when the Steelers return.

The bye week couldn't come at a better time for the Steelers. With a tough schedule ahead and players needing time to mend, it's just what the doctor ordered. Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisbereger and Lamarr Woodley along with some offensive linemen could really use the time off. Nagging injuries and two emotional games in a row have really taken a toll. Get well Steelers, see you next game.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Steelers Loss Not So Bad

There's no doubt that the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens hurts. The Ravens now control the AFC North with 2 wins over the Steelers. The good thing is that the Steelers hung with the Ravens this time. Their first meeting resulted in a 35-7 pounding by Baltimore that could have been discouraging to any but a veteran team. The Steelers slid to third place in the division, but playoff hopes are still alive.

The (6-3) Pittsburgh Steelers are behind Baltimore (6-2) and the Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) and will meet the Bengals this week before going on a bye. The remaing games are 2 with Cincinnati, 2 with the (3-5) Cleveland Browns, the (4-4) Kansas City Cheifs, the (7-1) San Francisco 49ers and the 1-7 St. Louis Rams. If they win at least 5 of those 7 games, they could still make the playoffs. If they win all of them, there's a chance to win the division.

I'll admit that there are some tough games ahead. But this team has been able to put together winning streaks in the past that took them all the way to the Super Bowl. Because of having their bye week late in the season, the Steelers wil get some much needed rest and a chance for some players to get back into action.  This loss to the Ravens was bad, but it could have been a whole lot worse. The season is not over yet. This is just the start of the 2nd season.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Steelers Win! Experts and Patriots Lose!

Almost all the so called experts had the Pittsburgh Steelers going down in defeat to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Not so fast my friend, you have to play the game. And that's just what the Steelers did as they went on to win 25-17. They beat Bill Belichick and the Patriots at their own game. Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff out coached the great mastermind on both sides of the football.

Offensively Ben Roethlisberger looked like Tom Brady, throwing 50 times for 365 yards. That's almost unheard of from a Steelers team. “We can be as good as we want to be,” Roethlisberger said. “When we don’t kill ourselves and stop ourselves, we can be pretty dangerous.” Tom Brady on the other hand, was held to under 200 yards passing.  “We all have to individually look in the mirror and figure out what we need to get better at,” Brady said.

The Steelers looked great on defense too. Before Lamarr Woodley got injured , he sacked Brady twice. Instead of their traditional zone defense, the Steelers played man 70% of the time. This switch confused Brady and disrupted the receiver's routes. With Troy Polamalu flying around and the rest of the defense playing up to their talent, the steelers looked good going into next week's rematch with the Baltimore Ravens. The Pittsburgh remains on top the NFL AFC North division at 6-2.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers That's More Like It!

      Last week the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed to play only half a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even though the Steelers squeaked out a win, they didn't play as well as they were capable of. Finally they played well on both sides of the ball and defeated the Arizona Cardinals 32-20. Ben had a great day passing and the defense stepped up in critical situations. Because the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Tennessee Titans Monday night, the Steelers find themselves on top the AFC North with a 5-2 record. The New England Patriots and Tom Brady will come into Heinz Field this week and the Steelers will have to play even better against them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Steelers Another Tale Of Two Halfs

The Pittsburgh Steelers looked pretty good in the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Steelers offense scored 17 points in the first half and went totally flat in the second. If it wasn't for a shaky defense only giving up 13 unanswered points, the Steelers could have easily lost to a not so good Jaguars team. As it is the beat up Pittsburgh Steelers limped to a 4-2 record.

With the Baltimore Ravens at 4-1, leading the division and the Cincinnati Bengals 4-2, the Steelers have not yet started the hardest part of their schedule. After the 1-4 Arizona Cardinals in week 7 they will have to deal with Baltimore again, the New England Patriots, the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati twice. If they're going to make the playoffs, the Steelers will need to beat some of those good teams. So, strap it on Steelers and play we know you can.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Big Ben And Max Starks Stand Tall In 38-17 Steelers Win

Ben Roethlisberger tied the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise record with Terry Bradshaw and Mark Malone despite having a sprained left foot that forced him to wear a specialized shoe. Though he limped considerably during the game, he was mobile enough to complete 24 of 34 passes for 228 yards while throwing two touchdowns to Hines Ward and one each to Mike Wallace, Heath Miller and David Johnson. "He's A-player," Tomlin said. "He's got to play in order for us to do well."

An unlikely hero emerged on the Steelers decimated offensive line. Seven days ago, Max Starks was wondering if he'd ever play in the NFL again. A week later, he was back in a familiar spot, giving Ben Roethlisberger time to do his what he does best. "He stepped up," Roethlisberger said after tying a career high with five touchdown passes. "We brought him to town this week and it's like 'OK, let's see how we're going to use him.'"

It turned out even more than Starks or the Steelers thought. A knee injury to center Maurkice Pouncey and a shoulder injury to tackle Marcus Gilbert turned Starks' part-time debut into full-time work. He played almost every snap in his first action since hurting his neck last November. Starks received the game ball from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin after the Pittsburgh rolled over the Tennessee Titans 38-17 on Sunday. That's not bad for a guy who hadn't played a game for almost a year.

The injury appeared to put his career in jeopardy. The team cut him after seven seasons before training camp to save money. Starks spent two months getting back into shape and waiting for a call. When it came from the 3-2 Steelers, he didn't let it go to waste. "Our biggest goal was to keep Roethlisberger upright," Starks said. "And we knew he'd perform if we did that."

"It's a good win for us," Tomlin said. "Hopefully it will provide momentum for us as we move forward." It's the kind of performance Tomlin was looking for after watching his team get rolled by Houston a week ago. A month into the season, the Steelers finally looked like the team that were  AFC champions a year ago. Even though the defense was missing James Harrison, Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith, they held Tennessee running back Chris Johnson to 51 yards on 14 carries and sacked QB Matt Hasselbeck three times.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Steelers Disappointing Loss To The Ravens

I've been trying all week to process the 35-7 loss of the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Baltimore Ravens and words fail me. My wife cautioned me about some morbid tragedy analogy I was thinking of in light of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. My wife's birthday happens to be September 11th. The way this defeat could be more embarrassing, is if it had happened in Heinz Field.

When I first looked at the Steelers schedule, I couldn't believe how easy it looked besides the Ravens. After Sundays shameful display, I wonder if the Steelers can beat some of the weaker teams on their schedule. It's only 1 loss and we won the AFC North division with 4 losses and went to the Super Bowl last season. I hope the Baltimore game is a wake up call and the team gets serious about playing football.

I'm glad I didn't say some of the things I had in mind on Monday. The Pittsburgh Steelers are still the best and most talented team in the NFL until they prover otherwise. I pity the Seattle Seahawks if the Steelers decide to make a statement this week. If they can hold onto the football and play solid defense no telling how may games they'll win.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Is Troy Polamalu The Player He Once Was?

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu looked more like the player he was before he injured his Achilles’ tendon last season. Arguably the Steelers strong safety seemed to be in top form.

This was his first appearance since the Super Bowl and Troy looked like his old self with some amazing plays in the first half of Thursday night's 24-14 win over the Philadelphia. It was vintage Polamalu when he intercepted Michael Vick and returned it for 36 yards. He also broke up a couple of other passes throwing his body around and flying all over the place.

This is good news for the Steelers and Steeler fans who are hoping he will be the same force he was before his injury. In the off season Polamalu was able to rehabilitate the injury and avoided having surgery.

In 2010 he had a partial tear of the Achilles’ tendon that prevented him from getting up to speed and kept him from showing off his explosiveness. He played in the Super Bowl, but wasn't much of a factor.

The defense looked good against Vick and the Eagles were confused all night. Vick threw three interceptions and that allowed big Ben and company to spend more time on offense. Let's hope they keep this up when the season starts with the Baltimore Ravens on September 11th.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There Were Stars In Pittsburgh's Loss To Redskins

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their 1st pre-season game to the Washington Redskins, but there were highlights.
Chris G. writes: But not all was a wash Friday night as two young players raised their level of play and took the spotlight. Antonio Brown, who has gotten plenty of reps with the first team due to injuries, was the star of the offense. He finished with four receptions for 64 yards. More importantly, it was the little things that made Brown impressive. Such as blocking down field on Isaac Redman’s touchdown run. He beat DeAngelo Hall deep, but Byron Leftwich was unable to connect with him. He also drew a pass interference call.

On the defensive side of the ball, much was left to be desired as the starting unit looked disinterested in tackling and the decimated defensive backfield struggled in stopping Rex Grossman. However, Pittsburgh’s first-round draft choice, Cameron Heyward, did not disappoint. Heyward was a force on the line, winning many of his battles to disrupt developing run plays. One of the highlights of the night was when Heyward broke through to overpower running back Ray Helu, spinning him to the ground for a short loss.

Let us know how you think the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers will perform this year. Can they get back to the Super Bowl and win it? Will they have to overcome more key injuries and rely on less talent? What do you think of the new rules the NFL will implement? Especially on kickoffs, will they affect the Steelers or not? 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles next.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hines Ward Is Dancing With The Stars

In the off season Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is participating on Dancing with the Stars? The former Super Bowl MVP is a contender on the blockbuster ABC reality television show, and so far, he is off to a competent start. What else are NFL players to do with their extra time now that the NFL owners have shut them out? Possibly they go on vacation, peruse a good book, enjoy a film or view some stupid television shows?      
 While the adventure of being on Dancing with the Stars is unlike shaking off corners and safeties, running fly patterns and receiving passes from Super Bowl quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, Hines Ward did ok on the Season 12 opening telecast. He scored a 21 out of 30 on his first dance. It  was a Cha-Cha with teammate Kym Johnson. Ward showed that not only does he have moves on the football field, he has some clever moves on the dance floor as well.

Other NFL players that have put in an appearance on the show include future Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, former New York Jets linebacker Jason Taylor, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor (now in some kind of sexual trouble), Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. Nearly all NFL players have done ok in the dance competition. Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor and Warren Sapp were all runners-up when they were on the program. The only one who won was Emmitt Smith on the show's third season. Who really thought that football players could be that fluid on the dance floor.

Franco Harris was in the crowd cheering on Ward and it looked as if the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer was waving a Steelers "Terrible Towel" when the camera was on him. The Steelers might not have won an additional Lombardi Trophy this past year, but maybe Hines Ward has set his sights on one more championship trophy that looks a lot like a great big mirror ball. Lynn Swann step aside, if the balett tights fit, Hines will wear them. Possibly all of the dancing Hines Ward is doing on tv could actually end up being a replacement for strength and conditioning drills, particularly since the NFL players are unable to make use of their team's workout facilities.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Should The Steelers Bow To The Inevitable?

I guess the Pittsburgh Steelers have met their match. They should throw up their hands and surrender. They should hang up their cleats and bow down to the "Cheese Heads". Yeah! Right? That's what you'd think if you took as gospel what the so called expert talking heads and football gurus have been spouting for almost two weeks. What a huge pile of putrid cheese crapiola!

Here's what it sounds like to me. If Super Bowl Man had a secret identity, it would be the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rogers. He's able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. Well, not exactly. But, he is able to do more things than Ben Roethlisberger and he's not a bad guy in most peoples minds. He's more athletic with his legs, he gets rid of the ball faster, he makes quick decisions and he's the most dangerous player in the Super Bowl, especially with his arm.

If the Packers spread the field with five wide outs, the Steelers secondary won't be able to cover them. This will neutralize Troy Polamalu because he will actually have to play safety instead of every other position except nose tackle on the defense. Rogers gets rid of the ball so fast and is so accurate that Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison won't be able to get to him. Besides all that, they're playing in a dome stadium on artificial surface, a so called fast track, that benefits the Packers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is so beat up, especially with the injury to all-pro center Maurkice Pouncey that the running game will be non-existent. Rashard Mendenhall will have a hard time running up the middle and with Clay Matthews on the outside there's no chance for a big gain. If Big Ben does somehow come up with some big plays to his receivers, he won't be able to match the magic and skills of Arron Rogers. So the Steelers should just throw in the "Terrible Towel" and be glad they made it to Super Bowl XLV.

Well I can remember how a 3rd string quarterback for the Chicago Bears almost beat the great Packers defense in the 2nd half of the NFC Championship game. So, Steelers when you hear this kind of nonsense you should get "Mad Dog Mean" and play like the Pittsburgh Steelers we all know and love. Kick some Green Bay ass and send the Packers packing as you climb that Stairway to Seven on Sunday. Go steelers!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Troy Polamalu Named AP NFL Defensive Player Of the Year Over Clay Matthews

The Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Polamalu beat out the Packers Clay Matthews, teammate James Harrison, Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata for the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. While the sports talking heads had all but given the award to Clay Matthews, the nationwide 50 media member panel gave the most 1st place votes to Polamalu.

Troy beat Matthews by just a hair, 17 first place votes to 15. Pittsburgh's James Harrison was 3rd with 8 1st place votes. Peppers got 6, Urlacher 2 and the Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata received 1. Even though Polamalu missed a couple of late season games due to injury, he impressed enough members to win the award. Now the real competition between these two players will come to a head in Super Bowl XV. We will see which one has the most impact on the outcome. Congratulations Troy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is There Really Any Question Who America's NFL Team Is?

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Pittsburgh Steelers fans wave terrible towels during their 2011 AFC Championship game against the New York Jets at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)  The term America's Team is a nickname that refers to the  Dallas Cowboys of the  National Football League. The nickname originated with the team's 1978 highlight film, where the narrator opens with the following introduction: They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars. They are the Dallas Cowboys, "America's Team." First off, I hate that nickname. Not because I'm a Steelers fan, and not because I hate the Cowboys. I hate it because I don't think it's true. The Cowboys are a very popular team and have been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL and all of pro sports.The Cowboys can have the name "America's team" but I don't think they truly are "America's team." The Pittsburgh Steelers' fan base is more loyal and travels way better than the Cowboys'.
While the nickname has stuck with the Cowboys, few know the real story behind the name. The Steelers were actually given the nickname before the Cowboys. However, Steelers owner  Art Rooney dismissed the suggestion that the Steelers were America's Team. "We didn't want that," Rooney said. "We're  Pittsburgh's team. We feel strongly about that."Mr. Rooney realized how much the team meant and still means to the city of Pittsburgh. No other NFL team embodies the city in which it plays, and the people it plays for, as well as the Steelers do. The Steelers and their fans have a connection that is unlike any other I've ever seen.

When it comes to the NFL, I think only the Steelers, Packers and Cowboys have a serious argument when it comes to having the best fan base in the NFL. Packers fans travel well and are extremely loyal. The Packers are one of the most successful franchises in all of sports, especially the NFL. Green Bay won six NFL championships from 1929 to 1944, where the league size was 12 teams (a 1-in-12 chance of winning). It was a much easier feat to win then. Green Bay won five titles in the 1960s, where the league size ranged from 22 to 25 teams. This is also the decade where the NFL and AFL were beginning interplay. So most of the Packers' success came before the AFL and NFL banned together and created the Super Bowl. Since the merger, the Packers have three Super Bowl titles and are making their fifth Super Bowl appearance.

All that is great, but the Packers fan base isn't as big as Steeler Nation. I can't go down Carson Street in Pittsburgh and go to a Packers bar. However, I can go to any state or almost any country and find many Steelers fans and Steelers bars.I bet I could even go downtown Dallas and find at least one Steelers bar. The Steelers were the team of the '70s. They won four Super Bowls and had arguably the most talented team in NFL history. Steeler Nation was in full force. Then the steel mills started to close down and a lot of people lost their jobs. Most Pittsburghers were forced to move out of the city or state and find work. This is obviously the main reason you see so many Steelers fans at opposing teams' stadiums when the Steelers come to town. Steeler fans are everywhere in this country. Not only do I think the Steelers have the best fan base, I think they're now the best, most successful franchise in the NFL.

After beating the New York Jets 24-19 on Sunday, the Steelers will be looking for a record seventh Super Bowl title against the Green Bay Packers on Feb. 6. The Steelers also tied the Cowboys for most postseason wins with 33, and set a new mark for most postseason home wins with 20. If they beat the Packers in the Super Bowl they'll have two more Super Bowl victories than the Cowboys in the same amount of appearances. The Steelers are successful and do so without buying many big free agents. They're a classy organization that believes in teamwork, handwork and building from within. If you still want to call the Cowboys America's Team, that's fine. But the Steelers truly have the best fans in the NFL. Steeler Nation is way stronger than the Cowboys fan base and it will show when half of the Cowboys' brand new stadium is filled with black and gold jerseys for Super Bowl XLV.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1 Half Is Better Than None!

I know we're in the Super Bowl. And as a Steelers fan I should be ecstatic. I know Ben Roethlisberger made a terrific play to pick up the 1st down that iced the game for the Steelers in the final 2 minutes. But, the Steelers only played one good half. The Pittsburgh Steelers played like Super Bowl champs in the 1st half to lead the New York Jets 24-3. But, as the 2nd quarter ended the defense allowed the Jets to march down the field with sloppy play, poor tackling and stupid penalties. Right then I felt that those 3 points shifted the momentum of the game. And just like Lee Corso on ESPN's College Gameday, I was saying "Not so fast my friends."

At half time people were calling my house and telling me what a total beat down the Steelers were going to put on the Jets. Even my wife whose watched every Steelers game with me this year and knows how the Steelers leave teams hanging around and make every game a heart attack, she was just beside herself with optimism. I had to put out the caution flag to preserve my own sanity. "Don't you remember the lousy 1st half we played against the Baltimore Ravens?", I asked. "And didn't we play an awesome 2nd half to beat them?" Could it happen to the Steelers?

Well no on expected the Jets to do the same thing to us, but maybe the Jets. The Steelers came out flat on defense in the 2nd half. It was like we knew we won and just wanted to let the time run out, not have any turnovers and move on to the Super Bowl. The only thing was, there was too much time left to waste! A lot can happen in a half with a team as desperate as you are to win a championship. If we could make adjustments to turn the game around against Baltimore, so could they. And they almost did!

In The NFC championship game we saw the Green Bay Packers only play half a game with the Chicago Bears and almost let a 3rd string quarterback beat them. Let's hope the Steelers have a better half than the Packers do in Super Bowl XLV. And why not play two good halves? That might give us our 7th Lombardi trophy. Go Steelers!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Steelers Fans Being Part Of The Game

PITTSBURGH — The singsong refrain rains down from the rafters of frigid Heinz Field: “Here we go, Steelers. Here we go!” Perhaps the black-and-gold faithful should add the word “again” to their familiar chant. The National Football League team with the most Lombardi Trophies on the planet is vying for yet another trip to the Super Bowl. Today’s showdown with the New York Jets marks the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 15th AFC Championship Game, the most for any team since the 1970 merger of the NFL and the American Football League.

The winner goes to Super Bowl XLV, to be played Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Tonight's game will be televised on Fox at 6:30 p.m. In Pittsburgh, the team’s quest is known as the “Stairway to Seven,” or “Knocking on Seven’s Door.” Customized song lyrics have been written and recorded to the melodies of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” These tunes, along with the latest updates of old-standards such as “The Steelers’ Polka” and the “Here We Go” song, are but a few of the signs of the black and gold buzz saw that’s revving up in this football frenzied city.

Yet, with the Steelers long ago having risen from lovable losers to NFL royalty, does Pittsburgh’s perennial playoff party ever get old? Might Pittsburgh’s football fanaticism have reached its limit? The Steelers faithful do not simply cheer on a football team. They see themselves and their city reflected in the team’s mixture of blue-collar work ethic, family ownership and tough-as-nails mentality. So when Steelers fans want to show their black-and-gold allegiance, they don’t just don jerseys and leave it at that. They make themselves part of the team, intertwining their own life experiences with those of the Steelers until the two are inseparable.

Steelers Fan 
City buses don’t just flash with the route number; their electronic signs alternate with the words, “Go Steelers!” Similar messages blink on traffic alert signs hanging over I-376 heading into the city. Fridays before playoff games are black-and-gold dress-up days in offices, retails stores and virtually every school, public or private, in Western Pennsylvania. In fact, one woman was overheard confiding to a friend that if she didn’t buy her daughter a Steelers’ T-shirt ahead of the championship game, the girl risked being teased mercilessly. This mother promptly picked over tables of Steelers’ merchandise outside shop after shop in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, a street of riverside warehouses known for it deals and its diversity of team gear.

Steelers fans, it seems, just can’t stop themselves from buying. “You can never have enough black and gold,” insisted life-long fan Dawn Phillips of East Liberty, who was combing packed racks at the Yinzers store in the Strip District. “We don’t take anything for granted,” she added of all the Steelers’ successes. “We know we’re blessed, but we know we’re No. 1, too.” Caroline Pina and Dustin Perry blew in to blustery Pittsburgh from laid-back Los Angles, and made a beeline from the airport to the Strip District, which they called “Steelers’ Street.” 

Steelers Fan
Caroline Pina and Dustin Perry of L.A., traveled directly from the airport to buy Steelers merchandise in the Strip District, which they called "Steelers Street." In town for a grandparent’s 80th birthday, the couple happened to score tickets to the championship game. Now, the pair with only loose ties to Pittsburgh were getting crash courses in Steelers culture. “You don’t see this in L.A.” marveled Perry of the legions of similarly dressed Steelers fans. “We don’t even have a team.” “There’s a lot more camaraderie,” added Pina, already wearing a Steelers cap. “You go up the street, and you can feel the amount of Steelers pride.” While some teams’ fans fly their colors on game days, Pittsburghers wear their loyalty on their sleeves year-round. “When you live in Pittsburgh, black and gold is part of your wardrobe all year long,” he said. “It’s the loyalty.

People are so proud.” Fans seem as connected to the team this year as ever. That’s why Cheryl Doerfler wears the same pair of Steelers socks for every game. She’s convinced her footwear — and even the seating arrangement at the Steelers parties she throws at her house — have something to do with the team’s success. So as her guests begin arriving for this evening’s Championship game, expect Doerfler to pull out the seating chart from last week’s playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens. Doerfler said she wants everything just do for another Steelers win. What’s more, none of her guests will give a second thought to such a request, as if her seating chart strategy were perfectly logical. “It’s hard to explain if you’re not from Pittsburgh,” Doerfler said.  By JOHN LUCIEW, The Patriot-News

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Another Steelers Super Bowl Ring Could Mean

(Analyst) on January 19, 2011

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 11:  (L-R) Hines Ward #86, Jerome Bettis and Ben Roesthisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers look on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Hines Ward will punch his ticket to the Hall of Fame if the Steelers win this year's Super Bowl.

If the Steelers complete their wild ride and win this year's Super Bowl, it will mean a lot more than the franchise's seventh Lombardi trophy. It will also mean this team is officially a dynasty, comparable even to the fabled 70s Steelers who won four Super Bowls. And, it will also mean that at least three, and probably four, Steelers have punched their ticket to the Hall of Fame.

In today’s era, any team that records three Super Bowl wins in a decade time span is a dynasty. The Cowboys did it in the 90s.  The Patriots did it early in the last decade.  The Pittsburgh Steelers are poised to join them this year. Once a team is a dynasty, players become much more appealing to Hall of Fame voters.
The four Super Bowl wins in the 70s pushed a lot of Steelers into the Hall of Fame who would not have made it had they played for a lesser team.  Players like John Stallworth and Lynn Swann come to mind.
The Hall of Fame is loaded with busts of those 70s Steelers while the only slightly inferior Cowboys of that period got far fewer invitations to football’s shrine of immortality. A third Super Bowl victory would lock in Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward and would probably be enough to push James Harrison in as well.

How many Steelers off this year's team will be locks for the Hall of Fame with a Super Bowl win?

Roethlisberger and Polamalu are arguably well on their way to Canton already.  Ward and Harrison, as borderline candidates due to the fact so many Hall of Fame voters are statistics-focused, would benefit significantly from one more ring. One more Super Bowl victory would guarantee Roethlisberger a spot in the Hall of Fame. Only now is Roethlisberger truly being valued outside of Pittsburgh for the greatness that has been on full display since his rookie season. The Steelers fortunes changed the day he took over under center, and the team has not looked back even for a second.  The prevailing belief Roethlisberger was along for the ride during the Steelers' 15-1 regular season his rookie year and during their first Super Bowl run the following season was always a myth.

Only one quarterback who has won two Super Bowls, Jim Plunkett, is not in the Hall of Fame.  No quarterback who has won, or even played in, three Super Bowls is not in Canton.  If the Steelers win this year’s big game, the discussion on Roethlisberger’s Canton credentials is over. Like Roethlisberger, Polamalu would lock in his Hall of Fame reservation with one more title.  He is the most exciting defender in the NFL, a high energy player who makes plays all over the field. He is one of those rare defenders so good offenses build their entire game plan around him. With two Super Bowl rings and a few highlight reel plays in the playoffs, Polamalu is well on his way to the Hall.  But, a third Super Bowl win would seal the deal in the event his career were to be cut short at some point down the line. The discussion of Ben Roethlisberger's Canton credentials will be over with another Super Bowl title.

Nobody wants that third ring more than Hines Ward, the ultimate Steeler who has epitomized Steelers football for his entire career. While he is in the downward slope of his career, playing a strong second fiddle behind young sensation Mike Wallace, he is still tough, plays his heart out on every play, and inspires everyone around him to be better.  Ward may be the best blocking wide receiver in the history of the NFL, and he remains the heart and soul of the team. Ward should already be a lock but would probably miss out on the Hall of Fame due to his numbers significantly trailing some of his contemporaries, like Marvin Harrison and Terrell Owens, due to the Steelers run-first offenses. But would anyone in their right mind take Owens over Ward?  Ward makes his team better while Owens makes his team a dysfunctional mess. One more Super Bowl would guarantee Ward a place in the Hall, even though I think his body of work has already earned him a place there. And he is playing like he realizes it, recognizing the window of opportunity is rapidly closing in on him with Father Time knocking on the door. Mike Tomlin may jokingly call him “old man” after the games, but Ward still plays with the same fiery intensity he has shown from day one.

Like Ward, James Harrison needs one more ring to punch his ticket.  He was a special teams ace on the 2005 Super Bowl team and the dominant defender on the 2009 Super Bowl team.  He has an NFL defensive player of the year award to his credit and played to that same level this year, even as he became the poster boy for the NFL’s crackdown on tackling. What will hurt Harrison is his career started late, which means his stats, like Ward’s, will trail some of his contemporaries. But, a third ring would nullify that problem. And all that bad publicity Harrison is getting this year?  It will probably help him after his career is over and will actually build his image in voters’ eyes. Harrison is virtually unblockable off the edge and is held on almost every down, although it is almost never called. It is almost as if the refs don't think it is fair for a tackle to try to block him one-on-one so they are willing to cut them some slack.  And he is a complete player who is equally devastating against the pass and run. Making the top defensive play in Super Bowl history doesn't hurt his cause, a play that will be replayed over and over again for the rest of time. He was arguably the best defender this past week during the divisional round of the playoffs.

There are a number of other veteran Steelers whose legacy would also benefit from another title, although they likely would fall short of Hall of Fame consideration unless they cashed in a couple more times.  Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton fall into this category, assuming Smith returns for the Super Bowl.
Being a Steeler sometimes means getting less credit than you are due because of the role you play.  Smith, Hampton and Heath Miller are all near the top of their position, but they rarely receive the accolades they deserve outside Pittsburgh. 
Chris McGrath/Getty Images 
If big Casey Hampton raises his finger again this year, he will one day enter the discussion for the Hall of Fame, especially considering the defense's incredible record at shutting down the run. Because of how good the Steelers have been against the run over this stretch, Hampton has a shot. He has been the rock in the middle of the line for both Super Bowl wins. And, while he no longer has the speed to chase Eddie George down the line and hammer him like he did early in his career in a playoff matchup, he is still an unmovable force in the middle of the line. Unfortunately for him, defensive linemen are measured by sacks and a 3-4 nose tackle isn't going to build his fame in that way, instead eating up blockers so that other players get to make the sacks. But, if you want to know why nobody can run against the Steelers and some teams don't even try, start with Hampton as the keystone to their modern version of the steel curtain.

Some of the younger Steelers have showed a tremendous amount of talent but are too early in their careers to project out that far.  Players like Lamar Woodley, Mike Wallace, Lawrence Timmons and Maurkice Pouncey fall into this category. Still, a Super Bowl ring will not hurt their cause as they continue to build their resumes and all will benefit from playing with a franchise quarterback at the top of his game for at least five more years.While these individual accolades will always take a back seat to the team's and city's goal of winning championships, Steelers' fans have grown accustomed to seeing their gridiron heroes inducted into the Hall of Fame on a regular basis.  One more Super Bowl win will ensure this parades does not come to an end any time soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jets - Steelers Rematch Could Be Close Again

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets will meet for the second time this season in the AFC championship game on Jan. 24th at 6:30 PM in Pittsburgh. Although the Steelers won the statistical battle in their 1st encounter, the Jets won on the scoreboard 22-17. Pittsburgh had many opportunities to win the game, even with 2 seconds left in the game and the ball on the Jets' 10 yard line, but they couldn't make the play.

This meeting will be somewhat different in that Mark Sanchez is more experienced and has been making better decisions. Coming off an upset 28-21 win over the New England Patriots, the Jets have shown marked improvement since the 45-3 beat down they got from the Patriots in the regular season. Also missing for the Steelers in the 1st game was tight end Heath Miller and strong safety Troy Polamalu. Both are healthy and will play in the championship contest.

The big difference in the first time these to met was the opening kickoff was returned 97 yards for a Jets' touchdown. Special teams have been a problem for the Steelers all season. These two teams are very evenly matched on defense and both offenses have been shaky at times. Whoever comes up with the "Big Play" will most likely win this came. Special teams could also be a factor again.

Here's a video of the last time the Steelers played the Jets.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Steelers Bounce Back To 31-24 Victory


A throw for the ages set up the winning score, which came amid a violent collision and pileup at the goal line. That’s just the way you’d both want and expect Ravens-Steelers Part III to end, right? But neither calm nor convention was part of the equation in this AFC divisional playoff game Saturday afternoon, a game that featured bad blood, questionable calls, big plays and a familiar ending: Pittsburgh somehow finding enough magic to advance, and Baltimore lamenting offensive miscues and coming up short despite a monstrous defensive effort.

Believe it or not, a 31-24 game was basically dictated by the defenses. The Ravens scored a defensive touchdown in the first quarter and set up another with a second-quarter fumble recovery deep in Pittsburgh territory. The Steelers rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit by returning the favor, forcing a pair of turnovers to set up relatively easy scores and holding the Ravens to minus-four yards in the third quarter.

The second of Rashard Mendenhall’s two short touchdown runs goes in the books as the game-winner, but a third-and-20 pass from Ben Roethlisberger to rookie Antonio Brown for 58 yards at the two-minute warning set it up. The Steelers’ defense didn’t get a dramatic stop at the end — T.J. Houshmandzadeh just flat dropped a fourth-down pass that ended the Ravens’ final drive — but did swing the momentum of the game in the third quarter when Ryan Clark forced a fumble and then intercepted a Joe Flacco pass, both in Ravens territory.                                                                                                         

“It was one heck of a football game and one heck of a comeback by the Steelers,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “They earned it.”

A typically violent Steelers-Ravens game started with Hines Ward getting flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the first play from scrimmage. Terrell Suggs, who got two of his three sacks in the first half, led a Ravens front that seemed to be battering Roethlisberger on his every pass attempt. The Ravens took a 14-7 lead when Suggs hit Roethlisberger before he could throw late in the first quarter, and almost every player on the field froze, thinking the loose ball was a result of an incomplete pass. Cory Redding alertly picked it up and basically jogged 13 yards into the end zone. Five minutes into the second quarter, Ed Reed recovered a Mendenhall fumble at the Pittsburgh 16 and set up a Joe-Flacco-to-Todd-Heap touchdown pass.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he told his team at halftime that “we had kicked our own butts enough.”
“Even in the midst of some adversity that we created for ourselves, and really Baltimore created, we didn’t blink,” Tomlin said. “We turned the ball over in the first half, and that’s why it was 21-7.”

Flacco was next seen on his back under a pile of black jerseys, and he spent much of the third quarter there. James Harrison sacked Flacco on the Ravens’ first play from scrimmage, the first of three sacks he had in the second half. In a game that was bully on bully from the start, the Steelers started gang-tackling and swarming the way the visitors had early, and the Heinz Field crowd responded.

With momentum on their side, the Steelers needed all of six offensive plays to tie it — two for 23 yards after Ray Rice’s first fumble of the season and four for 25 yards after the interception. Both were capped by Roethlisberger touchdown passes, a nine-yard lob to Heath Miller after a play fake that froze the defense, and an eight-yard dart to Ward to tie the game with 1:21 left in the third. "Putting Baltimore out, having them thinking about us all off season, it doesn't get any better than that,” Ward said. “They asked for us, and they kept asking for us.”

How good were the defenses? The teams combined for 11 sacks. The Steelers averaged 2.3 yards per rush; the Ravens averaged 1.9. But for as unblockable as Suggs was in the first half — and he left the Steelers’ offensive line looking as dumbfounded as referee Jeff Triplette did for most of the day — Harrison was even better in the second half. And he had help. With lynchpin end Aaron Smith out, young Ziggy Hood pitched in with five tackles and a sack. Clark broke up two passes and had two tackles for loss in addition to the turnovers. Harrison finished with seven tackles, three sacks, three tackles for loss and two pass breakups.
A third Baltimore turnover, a Flacco fumble recovered by Brett Keisel just two plays after Ward’s touchdown, set up a 35-yard Shaun Suisham field goal with 12:15 left.

Billy Cundiff tied the game at 24 with 3:54 to go on a 24-yarder as the Steelers’ defense held despite the Ravens having first-and-goal at the 8. The Ravens thought they’d scored the go-ahead touchdown at the six-minute mark on a punt return by Lardarius Webb, but a holding call on Marcus Smith as Webb got to the sideline brought it back to the Pittsburgh 29. Only getting three points gave the ball back to Roethlisberger and set the stage for the late, improbable heroics.

“We knew on offense that we put the defense in bad positions (early),” Roethlisberger said. “We can’t do that. We didn’t play good football." “(Later) we got lucky, I guess. Guys sense the urgency. We dig a little deeper.”Two shaky holding calls left the Ravens steaming mad — one on the punt return, one a defensive hold at the goal line on the Steelers’ final possession — but it was the third quarter that changed the game and, ultimately, the Steelers defense that won it and put Pittsburgh in its fourth AFC Championship Game in the past seven years.“That third quarter was the football game,” Tomlin said. “It’s signature Steeler football.”
Zac Jackson is a frequent contributor for FOX Sports Ohio.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Steelers - Ravens Fans Sound Off (by By James Walker)

Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs created a buzz this week by wearing a controversial T-shirt, which showed a Raven making a not-so-nice gesture to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Was it over the line or just Suggs having a little fun?

Here is some reaction from Ravens and Steelers fans in our AFC North inbox:

Dan from Hanover, Pa., writes: Suggs' T-shirt choice is unfortunate. It is unsportsmanlike and is a horrible example to his younger fans. To his credit, he's been pretty civil with his words this week, but the shirt was definitely over the line.

Dan from Lynchburg, Va., writes: I love the Suggs T-shirt. Where do I buy one? That's is how all us fans feel about the other team and city. That's what makes this such a great rivalry. Suggs has continued to talk about winning a championship for the fans, this shirt is for the fans.

Joe from San Antonio, Texas, writes: I think it's a classless display. Terrell Suggs has won nothing worth mentioning as a Raven, and wasn't it just last year he struggled with sacks? Plus, it's not just adult males that follow the Ravens, it's kids, some of whom probably look to players like Suggs as a role model. He needs to go back to Communication 101. There are other ways of, ahem, expressing yourself.

Ryan Morrison from Baltimore, Md., writes: I think that the shirt is just him having some fun. People in Baltimore have been looking at these shirts for a couple years now and it's not surprising to us. But i guess the rest of the world sees it different.

Mutt from Warrenton, Va., writes: There is no need for trash talk in this rivalry. Both teams are tough and not intimidated by the other. I am left to assume that Suggs is either nervous or just a loudmouth.

David from Salt Lake City, Utah, writes: "Hey Terrell," I couldn't help but notice there is no ring on that finger!

Ethan from Reisterstown, Md., writes: I don't think Suggs' new shirt is meant maliciously. It's just the general attitude the fans have for each other - not in real life, just in jest. I mean, really, any fan of the Ravens pretty much hates the Steelers, and I'm sure in Pittsburgh the reverse is true.

Darrell Thompson from Fort Worth, Texas, writes: I think this is a way of Suggs staying loose. These two teams have a lot more class than what's going on in the AFC East.

Peter from St. Andrews, Scotland, writes: He can say what he wants. He hates the Steelers, I hate the Pigeons. That doesn't mean I don't respect them for being as good a team as they are, and I'm sure he feels likewise about the Steelers. After the way Ben Roethlisberger shrugged him off in the game-winning drive in December, he has no choice but to respect! And no disrespect to Suggs for that play, he was a beast in that game!

Joe Brewer III from Columbia, S.C., writes: Sure, Terrell Suggs may dress louder, but who hits harder? We'll see who gets the W.

New England Patriots Homer of the Week

You knew fans from the AFC East wouldn't mind their business this week.

Anonymous Patriots fan writes: All the trash-talking for what? I thought you do that after you win? Don't worry, Ravens and Steelers. Do all the trash-talking you want. Both of you will be watching the Patriots win another ring.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Steelers Fly Past The Browns 41-9

The Pittsburgh Steelers came to Cleveland Sunday and played football like the Steelers we all know and love. On the Cleveland Browns 2nd play from scrimmage after the opening kickoff, Troy Polamalu flew in to pick of a Colt McCoy pass. It was obvious that the Steelers were about to make a statement with this game.

On the very next play, Ben Roethlisberger  connected with rookie wide receiver, Mike Wallace for a 56 yard touchdown pass. The Steelers would score 5 touchdowns and a field goal on six consecutive drives before they would have to punt. The result, a 41-9 beat-down to put an explanation point on their season!

With a 4 to 6 game suspension of quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger looming before the start of the 2010 season, most experts did not pick them to make the playoffs. The Steelers won 3 out 4 without Ben and with Ben the went 9-3. This Steelers are starting to come together at just the right time.

Knowing they had to win to get the 2nd seed and a bye week in the playoffs, the Steelers played inspired football. They were concerned about the health of Polamalu and Aaron Smith, but Troy played like he was already at 100%. Good new for the Steelers, bad news for the competition. Pittsburgh will play either the Indianapolis Colts or the Kansas City Chiefs at home in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Go Steelers! Got Penn State gear?