Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Blast from the Past: PLAYOFFS???

Hines-WardA close (14-9) but relatively satisfactory victory over the Browns on New Year’s Day of 2012 was, alas, still only good enough to get the Steelers a wild card berth, despite their 12-4 record. 

A first-round game in Denver was fraught with difficulties, although there was little respect around the league for the quarterbacking abilities of Tim Tebow.

First and foremost was the captain of the defensive backfield and hard hitter extraordinaire, Ryan Clark, who was almost certainly going to be sitting on the sidelines of any games at high altitude.

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Week 2 of Dancing With the Stars: How Did Antonio Do?

Week 2 AB

Week 1 was fun, but Week 2 on Dancing With the Stars is where the pedal starts to hit the metal. There are no eliminations in Week 1, but one couple has to go during Week 2.

The first few eliminations are generally fairly easy, at least if the season in which Hines Ward competed is any indication. There always seem to be a couple of “stars” who just don’t have the, well, star power to overcome their technical weaknesses and lack of natural ability, and they generally get weeded out fairly quickly, unless they are happen to be very popular for some non-dancing reason. Then they may hang on for a few weeks longer than their Week 1 dances would have predicted.

So who is staying and who is going? Let’s find out…

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A Blast from the Past: Mop-Up Duty

via Week 17 Legend a Ryan Clark tackle showing classic form

The December 28 2011 edition of 5 Burning Questions certainly began on a more cheerful note than that of the previous week. A 27-0 shutout, even of a bad team, will do that for you. (In fact, some might argue that the fact the Rams weren’t a very good team made them actually happier, as it showed the Steelers were capable of beating the teams they “should” beat.) But as Hombre said,

…even such a victory as this has left us with plenty of material for this week’s installment of the 5 Burning Questions.

The question which intrigued me the most was this one:

3. Michael Bean spelled out a number of individual milestones that players can reach in the Cleveland game (click here for Michael’s list). All these milestones are understandably important to individuals in question. But which individual milestones, if achieved, will tell you that the team is headed in right direction with the playoffs starting?

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: From Gridiron to Gospel

gradkowski:dawson

via Toledo Blade

There are a lot of things I thought about writing on for today, but since it’s Easter I just couldn’t bring myself to put up a review of Le’Veon Bell’s rap mixtape (that appears next Sunday,) or the punk rock band made up of members of the Dallas Cowboys (that’s coming, once I can bring myself to do the research.) Even opera (yes, there’s another opera singer coming in a few weeks) is too violent and secular. No, I’m going full-on Gospel today.

One of the earliest posts in the series was on the NFL Gospel Choir, and that was a lot of fun. But this post features a man who played Division 1 football with Bruce Gradkowski at Toledo but didn’t make it to the NFL, as, like so many promising college athletes, injury derailed his career. After a few surprising twists and turns he’s returning to his roots. Read more

Mocking the Draft: A First Glance at the Steelers’ First Round Prospects, Part 1

 

via steelers.com

It’s time. The draft is creeping up upon us, and difficult as it is for me, I have to devote myself to studying this season’s crop of potential NFLers. Although we all know the Steelers take the Best Available Player, many of you know I am shopping for the Best Looking Available player. Or at least the Most Interesting Player.

I have to confess that despite having the tiniest bit of scientific verification for my theory that the best-looking players will also be the best ones in general, my past Momma’s Mock Drafts haven’t had a terribly high success rate. Of the few players the Steelers actually picked up (Dri Archer in the draft, Myron Rolle off waivers) neither are a Steelers success story.

But thankfully I am undeterred. And to my great excitement, the Steelers appear to be addressing the Big Eaters category in free agency (offensive tackles) or not at all (nose tackles). Or at least it seems certain they aren’t going to spend a high pick on a nose tackle.

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Meet the Newest Steeler: OT Ryan Harris

via denverbroncos.com/ Just think how much handsomer he will look with a black and gold background…

This season’s post-Super Bowl period has been quite busy for the Steelers, relatively speaking. They managed to re-sign a number of their own free agents, which was expected, but what wasn’t was the signing of tight end Ladarius Green as soon as free agency opened.

Of course, the news about Martavis Bryant’s suspension which hit the wires not too long afterwards made it evident why they were so keen to find a replacement for, ostensibly, Heath Miller. But when you look at Green’s blazing 40 time and relatively trim size for a tight end, it begins to look as if they were looking to replace Bryant more than Miller.

Another surprise, although I suppose it shouldn’t have been, was the search for an offensive tackle. From information which is now leaking out it looks as if the Steelers offered Kelvin Beachum a substantial contract last season which he chose to refuse, and ironically it sounds as if it was pretty equivalent to the one he signed with the Jaguars.  Read more

A Blast from the Past: A Bitter Pill

via newok.com Here’s what Ben’s ankle looked like the previous week…

After the double whammy of two AFC North games within four days of each other the Steelers were understandably battered and bruised, none more so than Ben Roethlisberger. He was sporting not only the Giant Shoe of Death (in which he, inexplicably, often plays well) but the Massively Taped Ankle of High-Sprainedness. I don’t know whether he generally plays well with a high ankle sprain (I’m guessing not) but he certainly didn’t in this particular case. Yes, I’m referring to The Embarrassment at Candlestick Park.

The game was not just an embarrassment for the Steelers. The power went out at least twice, making for major delays—something which probably wasn’t helpful, as it gave time for the pain shots to wear off and the affected muscles to get cold and harden up. Read more

The Good Guys: You Don’t Know Jack.

imageWhen it comes to my football heroes, I’m decidedly old school. The Good Guys series continues with my favorite player of all time — Jack Lambert.

Jack Lambert is not a typical Good Guy. He’s actually not a typical anything. He’s profane and a grouch. He’s certainly not a smiler like Hines or AB. Not a quiet man like Troy or Heath. He doesn’t attend all the Steelers’ events. He does not suffer fools gladly.

But Jack is authentic, honest. What you see is what you get. He was perhaps the greatest linebacker ever to play the game, certainly in the top five. As a teammate, he drove the defense and played every play with ultimate effort. He was obsessively focused on winning, never allowing his teammates any room to play with less than full intensity.

You didn’t mess with the Steelers or you dealt with Jack. Ask the Cowboys’ Cliff Harris, who taunted placekicker Roy Gerela in Super Bowl X. After Gerela pulled a 33 yard attempt, Harris tapped him on the side of the helmet and said “Way to go.” Lambert grabbed Harris by the helmet and pads and flung him to the ground.  Classic Lambert.

When it comes to hard-nose, smack ’em in the mouth defensive football, he is the gold standard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of players I admire for what they do on the field and off, but watching No. 58 bury a ball carrier or sack a quarterback was the ultimate thrill. Read more

The Journey Begins—Antonio Brown on Dancing With the Stars

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 12.41.39 AMAs I noted the preview article, I will be not only reporting on how Antonio Brown is doing on Dancing With The Stars, but how it compares to Hines Ward’s appearance on the show five years before. So let’s get right to it. First, let’s see what I had to say about the whole idea, all those years ago:

When it was announced that Hines Ward would appear on Season 12 of Dancing With The Stars, the reaction from Steeler Nation was conflicted. On one hand, it would be great to let the world see Hines Ward the philanthropist, the untiring worker, the guy who loves his job so much that he pops up from even the most brutal hit—given or received—with a big smile on his face. But come on, it’s Dancing With The Stars. Steeler Nation had already moved on from and buried the memory of Lynn Swann taking ballet classes. We didn’t need any more of this dancing nonsense.

Ward ultimately decided to participate, and Steeler Nation was supportive because that’s what Steelers fans do. But it was with considerable trepidation that we watched the first show—those of us who could bring ourselves to watch, that is. Would Hines wear an outrageous costume? Was he going to forget his routine and look like an idiot? Would he remember his routine but look really uncomfortable…?

Happily, the answer to all of the above was a resounding “heck, no!” His costume was about as dignified as dancing costumes get. He certainly didn’t forget his routine. Most important, Ward looked like he was having a great time. Steeler Nation heaved a collective sigh of relief and settled in for the long haul, because by Week 2 it was obvious that Ward had what it took to last deep into the competition. Read more

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