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Let the hype begin – Patriots or Steelers – Team of the Decade?

May 27, 2009

18__1228088263_6940It’s just 3 months post-Super Bowl and already the chattering has started – which team earns the title as “Team of the Decade?”

Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots.

With five championships between them so far this decade, the title is up for grabs. Steelers fans will claim it, pending one more championship and Pats fans ALREADY are running their mouths as IF they have it nailed.

No doubt, the Patriots are a great team. Tom Brady is a fantastic quarterback.  They have an outstanding offensive line and pass protection.  They even have a decent defense. I won’t begin to discount their championships. They are a great team, cheating aside, they still have to go out and perform….and they have. (I know, tough hit there with the cheating thing…had to go and bring that up, right?)

However, the Steelers – and yes, I am probably biased since they are my team – are also a great team.  Sure, could our O-line use some help, absolutely.  But so could the Pats secondary!

That said, ESPN.com’s James Walker and Len Pasquerelli debate the teams and their successes on the AFC North blog.

I wholeheartedly disagree with Pasquerelli on the Pats defense.  Wasn’t it just last season the Steelers pretty much whooped that New England butt? I mean, don’t make me pull out the Ryan Clark hit again.  I will.  Do we need to be reminded? 

I’ll be the first to admit that the Steelers have issues on offense.  Believe me, we Steelers fans KNOW this.  But to try to say that the Steelers defense will be weaker than the Pats defense is absolutely insane.  I’m thinking Pasquerelli must have suffered from a “Deebo” hit before that even came out of his mouth.

The facts:

The Steelers had the #1 defense in the NFL in 2008.

James Harrison was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

He and Woodly had nearly 30 sacks. 

I’m sorry Pasquerelli, say what you want about our offensive issues….but leave my defense alone. Oh, and by the way, Dick Lebeau? You are going to say the best defensive coordinator in the League, what, is insignificant compared to Belichick? *sigh*

Well, if there’s one thing I know – it’s that Mike Tomlin (remember him?) will take this type of article and use it as fodder to create intensity in our team. 

Forget the Ravens for a second…I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting the Pats in the AFC Championship.  I’m sure the rest of the team will feel the same way when they see this article.

Oh and by the way Pasquerelli, it’s May!  Brady’s been off the field for more than a year. He had major knee surgery – think about FWP for a second here and how bounced right back – right? 

Let’s wait and see how he reacts being back on the field and whether or not he nurses that knee a little or not. 

And don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the Pats aren’t a great team. I’m saying before we anoint them “Team of the Decade” that we wait out the entire decade!  It’s still only 2009 folks.  Steelers still have a championship in them, that I am certain.

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Who will be the Steelers #3 WR?

May 24, 2009

Pitt-Steelers_RPS2008This is the Limas Sweed vs Mike Wallace vs Shaun McDonald story.

And one that’s hard to predict without really seeing any of them play in camp, but it’s off-season, I have no more White House adventure stories so I’m going to make a prediction anyway.

First, le’s just say Nate Washington will be missed.  He was a great WR for the Steelers and made plays when we needed them. I wish him the best in his career.  He deserves to have a shot as a starter.

But now, back to filling that spot…I’m saying it goes to Limas, for now.  I think he hurt his own ego more than anything by dropping that would be touchdown pass last year and will want to show that he’s more than that.  He’s familiar with the playbook – though isn’t everyone, not like Arians is the most creative Offensive Coordinator – and he’s had a year watching Hines and Santonio, hopefully learning along the way. Clearly, he attended the Hines school of blocking based on his hit against the Ravens in the AFC Championship last year  (knowing also that he had to redeem himself for dropping the pass).  While he only had 6 catches for 64 yards last year, I think Limas is a “work in progress.” It’s not like Santonio was he receiver he is today a couple years ago.  (Still shaking my head at those dropped returns a few years back). Let’s give the kid the benefit of the doubt and say he’s been working on the off-season and will earn the job of #3 man.

 

**I reserve the right to change my mind, like any woman, based on what I see at training camp.

I am heartily impressed with what I see and hear about Mike Wallace.  Clearly he’s fast – with a 4.31 40 at the combine.  I think he will have a starting job on kick returns and will move into a WR job in the next couple years…much as I hate to say it, Hines isn’t getting any younger.  He’ll mentor these young guys and teach them the Steeler way – and yes, keep on teaching them how to block too, forget that Hines Ward rule stuff, receivers need to block when they aren’t carrying the ball. I think Wallace will definitely be the “one to watch” moving forward.  And, if Limas doesn’t pan out, the one I think who will be second in line.

**Again, all this subject to change once I see what happens in training camp.

Clearly, getting some veteran depth at WR with Shaun McDonald is smart.  Pending any injuries *knock on wood* he could easily jump in to a role. He was a 4th round draft pick by Saint Louis Rams where he played until the 2007 season when he went to Detroit.  Over his career he’s had 185 receptions for 2167 yards and 10 TD’s.  He’s our insurance policy.  Not that I don’t think he could be the #3, I just think Limas has that job for now.  Although, depending on what needs to happen on the field, the job *could* be shared based on strengths.  

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am definitely looking forward to training camp so I can really see how these spots work themselves out.  

Who is your pick for the job based on what we know right now? Sweed, Wallace or McDonald?

The Steelers visit the White House

May 22, 2009

 

 

(prefacing this post with the fact that I am pissy and had a bad day!)

Wow, what a day, the Steelers visit the White House.  I work a block from the White House and was excited to know that they would be coming to my city today.  Last night, in preparation, I packed my #10 jersey in support of Santonio’s Super Bowl winning touchdown and confirmed their arrival time with my NFL contact – covering all bases.  I was READY today.

So, I get to the White House and I realized one thing I didn’t know – which gate they would be entering.  First, I asked the Secret Service (uniformed) guards at the gate closest to my office where the best place to get a picture would be…to which they replied, “No pictures for Steelers fans, this is DC…you should be a Skins fan.”

WTF? Seriously, that’s what they said…

So, I take my butt along the street on 15th and Penn heading to the front of the White House  heading toward the West gate when I run into a couple more Steelers fans.  They tell me the guards there told them to go to where I had just been…we decide to walk together back in that direction.

It was a beautiful day I will add. Sunny, warm – borderline hot in the DMV. We see lots more guards lined up at the gate the President comes in so we ask them, “Will we be able to get some good pictures if we stand here?” Nope they tell us, no pictures here.  So, we walk along the back, by the ellipse and each step of the way we ask whoever we run into. Each time, no pictures here. Finally, we’re behind the Old Executive Office Building and we hear the sirens, the motorcycles and general noise of the motorcade. 

Yup, all those police/secret service etc lied.  The Steelers entered the very first gate where I had asked.  Now, keep in mind this is OUTSIDE the gates. It’s tourist central.  It’s not like you can’t norally walk in these areas.  Those guys were just being assholes.  In fact, as I RAN back to where I had initially been, I could have sworn I heard “Run Steelergurl, Run!”  Ha ha. I am sure they enjoyed watching me run all around the damn ellipse as much as I enjoyed the cardio. 

 

Bastards made me run around this fence and you see that bus!

Bastards made me run around this fence and you see that bus!

I am sure this post sounds whiny and silly all at the same time.  But here’s why I am mad….remember when I said they were asking why I wasn’t a Skins fan?  Well, look at these pics…you see all that Steelers paraphanalia?  These same whiny ass men were the same ones who were kissing Coach Tomlin’s ass to get an autograph. In fact, I got no pictures without them begging someone for an autograph. So much so, that the players had no time to give any attention to us fans. All six of us who showed up (Steeler Nation, what the hell?? But that’s another post altogether).  

 

Begging MY COACH for autographs!!

Begging MY COACH for autographs!!

 

 

 

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a fake ass bandwagon fan.  Those guys gave me shit about being a Steeler fan until those buses pulled up and while they were watching me run around the freaking ellipse, they were kissing ass to get an autograph.  If I see any of that stuff on ebay I am punching the next Skins fan I see in the neck. No lie.  I’m going to do it.  

This whole thing would be like me seeing Ray Ray in the streets of Baltimore and getting an autograph and NOT giving that right over to Molly (@mdbirdlover), Lee (@tailgate365), Tracy (@mindpinball) or Syreeta (@theNFLChick) – they are REAL Ravens fans and there is no way in hell I would get an autograph from Ray Ray and not give it to one of them (you all can ply me with gifts to decide who gets it btw).

I know it’s going to be a while before the Skins see a championship again, but you didn’t need to talk shit say negative things about my team and then beg for autographs punk ass motherfuckers. Blame Danny boy for your losing team, don’t blame my six time champions who are about to win a 7th.  

 I’m not a fan who runs and screams at cute players, I don’t get obnoxious and I am not into all that “celebrity.”

(Unless I see it on Pigskinlovinglady’s blog.)

I love football and I am FOREVER a Steelers fan. 

No Bullshit.

(As if anyone who reads this blog doesn’t already know that!)

Here are more pictures, best I could do today folks…

 

More Coach...

More Coach...

 

 

 

Big Ben - what in the hell is in that backpack??

Big Ben - what in the hell is in that backpack??

 

 

 

 

 

HInes - this one is specifically for @mdsteelergal

HInes - this one is specifically for @mdsteelergal

 

 

Santonio "Smoov" MVP - I told him not to call me no more - Holmes (this one's for Mark lmao)

Santonio "Smoov" MVP - I told him not to call me no more - Holmes (this one's for Mark lmao)

NFL considers expanding the “Rooney Rule”

May 20, 2009

Steelers Ownership FootballIt’s well known through out the league that Dan Rooney, who happens to lead the workplace diversity committee for the NFL,  pushed for teams to interview at least one minority when hiring for the head coach position.  At the owners meetings in Fort Lauderdale, they are now considering that rule to be expanded to cover General Manager positions as well.

Let’s be real, this is a no brainer – in ANY front office role the NFL should be interviewing capable and talented people, of course that includes minorities.  I’m still a little amazed that we need a RULE to make that happen, this is not 1809, it’s 2009. Come on NFL, let’s get it together and interview the right people for the right jobs regardless of race, religion etc.  You know the drill.

However, since it seems like the Rule is necessary, I am glad that Dan Rooney has pushed to make the League front office more diverse.  It says a lot, once again, to the Steelers ownership.

Come on NFL, catch up to the 21st Century please.

Sometimes even my Steelers say things I wouldn’t…

May 19, 2009

harrison

So the man doesn’t want to go to the White House…at least he’s consistent and it’s not based on political party affiliation.  Harrison didn’t go to the White House after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL either.  Granted, he now has the opportunity to meet President Obama and I don’t share his decision…I definitely would have accecpted the invitation…

But amongst all you Steeler haters out there, don’t you think the man has a point? It wasn’t a “special” invitation for the Steelers – it would have been offered to any team that won the Super Bowl. He’s not going because Obama isn’t necessarily a Steelers fan (like me) who supports the team on any given day win or lose.  If you think hard and get past his silly interview on Sports Center, you might just see he does have a point.

It’s still not a decision I would make, and I don’t defend his interview or what seemed ignorance.

But think about it….does he have a point?

Thoughts?

Pound that rock

May 10, 2009

miketomlin

The post-Super Bowl season following XL was one of huge disappointment for Steelers fans, and one that we haven’t forgotten.  Media reports constantly bring up the challenges faced by the team including Ben’s motorcycle accident and emergency appendectomy.  In fact, popular consensus is the Steelers can’t win a title back to back.

Here we are following one of the toughest schedules in the NFL, reigning Super Bowl champions once again and on the hunt for #7.  What’s different between the post XL season and the post XLIII season?

One, this team is fundamentally the same as it was last season.  The biggest losses to free agency were Nate Washington (#3 WR) and Bryant McFadden (CB), and a salary cap casualty in ILB Larry Foote.  The backups to these spots were already part of the team and had been learning from those who are now gone.

Two, they are healthy.  Recently Ben said he was coming off the high of winning his first Super Bowl and was not thinking (in regards to the motorcycle accident).  This time he’s more focused and getting ready to play. Even Fast Willie Parker has taken a lot of time to recover from injuries that kept him from being, well, fast last season. He’s been doing pilates to increase his flexibility and I expect to see an even faster and better Willie on the field.

And third, and what I think is one of the most important differences, Coach Tomlin is no joke. While he is close in age to many of his players, he knows when to be mentor and when to be friend.  His attitude is a humble one – last season was last season. His approach is work hard and you will reap results.  Those who say he won the Super Bowl with Bill Cowher’s team are wrong. This is not to say that Bill Cowher was not a great coach, he most certainly was.  I just happen to believe that Mike Tomlin is his own man and brings his own style to the game.  He’s intense, he’s passionate and he works hard.  His style is a lot like his mentor, and the only other African American NFL Coach to win a Super Bowl, Tony Dungy. 

Dungy, too had a long history with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he signed as a free agent defensive back in 1976.  Dungy played a key role on the team’s original “Steel Curtain” and in 1978 helped lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl Championship.  After retiring from playing, Dungy began his coaching career with Chuck Noll in 1981 and was Pittsburgh’s defensive coordinator from 1984-1988.  His path crossed Tomlin’s when he was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001) and Tomlin had been hired to coach the defensive backs in 2001.  It’s destiny, in many ways, that Tomlin ended up with the Steelers. Tomlin’s cool persona seems to fit well with the Rooney’s ownership style as well.  

This upcoming season lends itself to an easier regular season schedule, but I don’t expect Tomlin to let the team take it lightly. I don’t expect games like in 2007 when the Jets, with probably the worst record in the NFL at the time, beat the Steelers. Coach Tomlin will not allow those types of losses to happen. And the team seems much more cohesive than it did following Super Bowl XL.  

Coach Tomlin – passionate, a real competitor and a great coach.

My overall prediction for regular season is 13-3. And the losses we have will be close, hard fought games. 

What do you think? What will be the Steelers strengths and weaknesses approaching this season?

The Predictions

May 8, 2009

This week out of sheer boredomI thought I would ask my fellow “twitter-ers” who they thought the top dogs would be at the end of the season.  I also want to point out to the delusional wonderful friends who are Pats fans that everyone on the list DID choose Pittsburgh even though you keep telling me Brady’s back.  The record will live here on the blog, we can revisit it as the season goes on, maybe even come up with a “prize” for the person who chooses the right teams…

Anyway, here are the predictions for division winners in random order:

@jeffw171                 New England, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego, Green Bay, Philly, Carolina, San Francisco

@mmahoney13       New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, San Diego, Philly, Carolina, Green Bay, San Francisco

@j0shsanch3z          New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, San Diego, Dallas, New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle

@nokemono42        New England, Pittsburgh, Houston, San Diego, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, San Francisco with wildcards of Philly, Carolina, Cincy, and Indy

@DavidWhite23      New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, San Diego, Philly, Arizona, Chicago, New Orleans with wildcards of Tenessee, Baltimore, Dallas and Atlanta

@boogietheman    New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego, Philly, Minnesota, Atlanta, San Francisco

@tomjolly      Pittsburgh, New England, Houston, San Diego, Chicago, New York Giants, Atlanta, San Francisco

@lorisimms  Philly, Chicago, Atlanta, Arizona, New England, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Tennessee

@gdwessel   Pittsburgh, Indy, New York Jets, San Diego, Chicago, Carolina, Philly, Arizona

@MKRob    New England, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego, Philly, Chicago, Atlanta, Arizona

@uglybagofwater  Pittsburgh, New York Jets, San Diego, Jacksonville, Philly, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Arizona

@BuckyBrewer   Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New England, Philly, Indy, Arizona, Denver

@dcborn61   New York Giants, Chicago, Carolina, Arizona, New England, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego

@Kennethlim  New England, Indy, San Diego, Pittsburgh, New York Giants, New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago

@miamishyner  Miami, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, San Diego, Philly, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Arizona

@tat2dsteelergal  New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, San Diego, Philly, Green Bay, Carolina, Arizona

@taupecat  New York Giants, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, New England, Pittsburgh, Indy, San Diego

and I think my picks are:

@steelergurl Pittsburgh, New England, San Diego, Houston, Chicago, New Orleans, Philly, Arizona and my wildcard picks are Baltimore, Buffalo, Dallas and Green Bay.

Now, of course, let’s see how this all works out and how close we actually are.

We should take  bets on who comes out with the right answers…