Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Little Darlin’/Roxanna Firehall Football Jamboree, Part 4

The Behemoth, parked in Roaring Asphalt campground...

The Behemoth, parked at the Roaring Asphalt RV Park…

by Man of Mystery Roxanna Firehall. For Parts 1—3 click here, hereand here.

Day 6

Leaving the Roaring Asphalt Campground and the defeated St. Louis Rams behind us, Little Darlin’ and I headed back east towards Dayton. As usual, LD took the first shift and lead us through Illinois. Mysteriously, all of the crossovers and tight construction zones I encountered on the way out were cleaned up for the most part, and LD sailed through the Land of Lincoln.

I drew the Indiana leg. The road was not any smoother than on the trip out. The rough ride seemed to have shortened our tempers a bit. LD was navigating (not her best skill) and insisted I move from the middle lane to the right. I complied even though she had previously advised that the middle lane was best. We then had a short, intense discussion as to why this mildly urgent move was necessary in Indianapolis traffic. The discussion yielded no cogent answer. After apologizing several times in the face of my harumphs, LD tells me just move back to the center lane and I’ll shut up. I complied knowing she would not. Read more

5 Smoldering Questions On the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 3

via stlouisrams.com— Jeff Fisher—the man, the myth, the legend, the jinx?

Smoldering indeed! The Astroturf was more than smoldering at the Conflictus Interrumpo* Sunday. Let’s see if we can derive some light (and not merely heat) from Hombre de Acero’s questions…

Week 3 found the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road vs. the St. Louis Rams, and while the Steelers did escape with a 12-6 victory, their second road win vs. the Rams came at the price of an MCL injury to Ben Roethlisberger.

On a short week, the Steelers don’t have much time to feel sorry for themselves as the Ravens are up on Thursday night, which is fast approaching. But before that date arrives, here in this little corner of Steelers Nation, we’re left with these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers to answer.

1. Going into the Rams game, the Steelers offensive line had only allowed two hits and five QB hits in weeks one and two. The Rams however registered five quarterback sacks and five QB hits, on a day when daylight in the running game was equally hard to come by.

What does the Ram’s game tell you about the state of the Steelers offensive line? Read more

Steelers Opponent Preview: the Baltimore Ravens

via Pittsburgh Sporting News

Seeing the opponent preview today perhaps gives us an idea of how it must feel for the team to turn around from a Sunday game and play on Thursday night. It certainly gave me a shock when I realized it needed to go up the day after the game recap…

If there is one word which comes to mind when thinking of the recent Steelers/Ravens rivalry, it would be “brutal.” The mental images comes thick and fast—Ben with a broken nose, dragging Terrell Suggs out of the pocket so he could throw the ball away and avoid a sack on a critical down. James Harrison karate-chopping Joe Flacco’s arm to cause a fumble. Hines Ward taking out Ed Reed and Ray Lewis breaking Rashard Mendenhall’s shoulder.

For the more squeamish fans among us, apprehension is the order of the day when the Ravens come to town. But will it be the same? Read more

The Little Darlin’/Roxanna Firehall Football Jamboree, Part 3: Gameday

AP Photo/ Billy Hurst: Yes, that is the Rams’ stadium, pre-fire…

If you need an explanation, click here.

Day 5 – Game Day

Wow! Steeler Nation travels as big and bold as everyone has told me it does. This was Roxfire’s first Steeler road game ever. It did not disappoint. I am usually last minute for everything, but I was waiting on Little Darlin’ this fine morn.

We drove into downtown St. Louis and the streets were jammed with yinzers in their black and gold. I started looking for Primanti Brothers and a Dirty O. I said to LD, “are we in the ‘Burgh?” There were road whites and black Steeler home jerseys from every era everywhere. There were plenty of bumble bee jerseys, too. There was even a lass in bumble bee cover-alls. LD scowled a bit, but I appreciated the look.

We met fans Steeler fans from California, Witchita, New York and Pittsburgh, of course. We met quite a few from the St. Louis area, including Larry and Tracey from Springfield who sat in front of us. They told us about camping at the Casino Queen which sounded a tad more appealing than the Roaring Asphalt Campground. Read more

Game Recap: Steelers at Rams, Pas de Trois

AP photo/Billy Hurst: The Fire Heard Around the NFL…

I write this with the sort of heavy heart I usually have when chronicling a Steelers loss. In fact, I didn’t feel this bad when they lost to the Patriots.

2015 was supposed to be the year the offense carried the defense. And make no mistake, there are still a lot of playmakers on this team. But part of the “playmakerliness”, if I may be allowed to coin a term, is predicated on the chemistry between Roethlisberger and his receivers.

It was heartening to see Bell ripping off a few good runs against a very good defensive front. And all of a sudden we might be seeing the sort of two-back look a lot of people were hoping for but Tomlin nixed. But given that everyone is going to key in on the run, it might not be a successful strategy.

Read more

Bonus Feature: The Little Darlin’/Roxanna Firehall Football Jamboree, Part 2

FullSizeRenderAs noted in yesterday’s post, I received a mysterious email with the following submission. I’ll leave the lead-in, in case you missed it:

I retired about a year ago, to pursue interests other than those of my employer, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  They were interested in me working.  I was interested in traveling, grandkids, drinking craft beers and “having a life.”  For once, I won.

 My wife, Little Darlin’ (LD) retired too.  She wanted to pursue  traveling, grandkids, drinking craft beers,  “having a life,” and supervising me.  She’s ambitious. 

One of the major pieces of this retirement gig was to purchase a recreational vehicle.  After many months of looking at older and smaller models, we purchased a brand new 38 foot motorhome with three slide outs.

Day 3

We’re off to St. Louie.  LD took the first shift again, as yours truly prefers to meet the day slowly.  We left the American Gothic in high spirits, looking forward to staying put for a few days in the Gateway to the West. Read more

Minding the Kicker—Is the Steeler Nation Angst Over Josh Scobee Justified?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Peter Diana photo

Hombre de Acero’s 5 Smoldering Questions this week not surprisingly contained the following:

2. All was not positive in the Steelers victory, as Josh Scobee missed an extra point attempt, making that three misses in two weeks. As the Steelers luck with place kickers this year does not seem to be good, are you worried yet?

It’s hard to imagine there is anyone in Steeler Nation, from Head Coach Mike Tomlin down to all but the least observant fans, who aren’t at least discomfited by Scobee’s horrific 50.0% made field goal percentage so far (not to mention a missed extra point attempt.)

Therefore it may surprise you, as it did me, to discover he isn’t the lowest ranked kicker in the NFL, or even close to it, at least according to Pro Football Focus. He is ranked No. 28 out of 39 ranked kickers. Nor is he the only kicker to have missed half his attempts so far. Graham Gano, who kicks for the Panthers, has also missed half of his kicks this season. He is 3 for 6, so this is even a larger sample size than Scobee’s 2 of 4. Gano is ranked No. 5. Read more

Bonus Feature: The Little Darlin’/Roxanna Firehall Football Jamboree, Part 1

via Pittsburgh Blitz

I received a mysterious email this morning with the following submission.* Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, here it is. It details something similar to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, except about football and in a way one can actually comprehend:

I retired about a year ago, to pursue interests other than those of my employer, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  They were interested in me working.  I was interested in traveling, grandkids, drinking craft beers and “having a life.”  For once, I won.

 My wife, Little Darlin’ (LD) retired too.  She wanted to pursue  traveling, grandkids, drinking craft beers,  “having a life,” and supervising me.  She’s ambitious. 

One of the major pieces of this retirement gig was to purchase a recreational vehicle.  After many months of looking at older and smaller models, we purchased a brand new 38 foot motorhome with three slide outs.  I call her “the Behemoth.”  Every time we went looking, the one LD liked got a little newer, a little longer and lot more expensive.   Read more

A Meditation on the Contradictions of “NFL Nation”

Ivan Cole writes about what he believes are interrelated themes in our recent articles and comments. As you read, you’ll understand why this post is headed with a video. A mere still photo wouldn’t have done the job.

A number of years ago I came across some interesting results of a survey given to pre-med students. The question posed was what options these students might choose to pursue if they were unable to gain admission into medical school. Given the many health career possibilities other than medical doctor that would be available, the researchers were surprised that many of the respondents chose law school.

What the results revealed is that for many of these students the motivation was not healing and health but rather status and wealth. This was brought home to me during a career counseling session when my client, a doctor, revealed his conundrum. He had come to the conclusion that this was not the field for him and that he wanted to pursue a passion for carpentry. However, his wife informed him that she had signed on to be the spouse of a doctor and that she would leave him if he made the change.

Read more

Steelers Opponent Preview: the St. Louis Rams

AP/ Jeff Roberson photo

The Steelers are 10-11 against last week’s NFC West opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, since their first game in 1951.  The teams are even since 2000 after last Sunday, with two wins and two losses apiece.

Naturally I assumed the Steelers’ overall record was better against the next NFC West opponent, the St. Louis Rams. So it was a shock to me, as one of those “ahistorical” fans Ivan deplored so eloquently a few weeks ago, to find the Steelers’ all-time record against the Rams is .333.

As I dug a bit more, I found out a great many of those games were in the pre-Chuck Noll era, when the Steelers were bad against virtually everyone. Since 1970 the record is much more encouraging—the Steelers are one game over .500—and the record since 2000 is even better—two out of three, with the only loss coming in 2003. Read more

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