Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic. What I really mean to say is that Going Deep is Going to Stop producing daily posts for a while, probably for most of the off-season. Much as we enjoy writing about and thinking about the Steelers, it’s just too difficult to come up with content of substance when nothing much is happening. And since the whole point of this site was to provide content of substance, it leaves us in a bit of a bind.
We will most likely go to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, and perhaps even Tuesday-Friday during Times of Extraordinary Monotony in the thoughtfully non-rhythmic landscape of the NFL. We will attempt to compensate for the gaps with the stunning clarity, accuracy and awesomeness of our writing.
Okay, that’s probably not happening either, at least in my case. Ivan and Homer are another story. There will be occasional Smoldering Questions as the events in Steeler Nation warrant them. There will certainly be some discussion of the draft, including my [in]famous Momma’s Mocks. Profiles of worthy players and coaches will doubtless make appearances from time to time. Any other suggestions would be welcomed as well, and duly pondered.
Thank you all for reading and opining and loving the Steelers as much as we do. I especially want to thank those of you who have encouraged us with your comments, emails, and so on. So this isn’t Farewell but rather a brief Adios, or perhaps à demain, as the French would have it.
by Ivan Cole
“I am on record as stating that the standard for success for this particular collection of talent is to make it to the Conference Championship Game. Don’t get me wrong, I will be as disappointed as anyone if the team falls short after traveling so far. Nor am I attempting to inoculate the reader against failure as well. However, I would suggest that we be mindful that given the relative lack of experience in these matters, a winning performance would be a step beyond teams from the 70s and the last decade who needed multiple tries before claiming the ultimate prize.”
This is what I wrote in my last posting, and I am not backing off any of it. The reader may be wondering how I can be such a bleeding-heart optimist considering the events of the last few days. It’s a fair question, so this will be a multiple part post mortem. In the following segments (we have plenty of time on our hands now) I will give my take on where the team is in the larger journey.
by Hombre de Acero
The Steelers 2016 mystery ride came to a screeching halt to the tune of a 36 to 17 loss to the Patriots in yet another AFC Championship game. The Steelers now face another long off season where they must make decisions on several high-profile free agents.
But before we shift focus to the 2017 off season, this corner of Steelers Nation must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the 2016 Steelers season.
Geoff Burke, USAToday Sports
by Homer J
“I am sore wounded but not slain
I will lay me down and bleed a while
And then rise up to fight again.”
The storied words of Sir Andrew Barton seem appropriate in the aftermath of Sunday’s battle at Foxboro. Sore wounded, indeed.
The Steelers were outmatched, outgunned, outcoached, and out-executed by the arch-nemesis New England Patriots. There’s no getting around it.
Hmm, uncalled face mask penalty, you think? (Photo via Steelers.com)
During the game, which I actually watched in my brother’s basement, I jotted down some things which got my attention, for whatever reason. Some of them are pointless, or just dumb, and I will attempt to excise them. You can let me know if I was successful with my editing. I can tell you, however, that I’m eliminating about 80% of what I wrote. In fact, looking through these has confirmed my opinion that I’m better off just watching and getting the details later…
Before I plunge in I will explain about my brother’s basement. It probably should be a Cowboys’ man-cave, as my brother is a big fan, but it isn’t. My brother lives right next door to my mom in New Mexico, and my mom doesn’t have a TV. So I headed over to the empty house—empty of humans, that is, as they are on vacation while I parent-mind. I managed to figure out how to turn on the TV.
I’m not going to say much of anything right now. The hurt is still too fresh. There is plenty to be said, and I suspect we’ll all dissect it when we emerge from our depression, but at the moment I just want to celebrate the guys that came up big.
Chief among them was Ben. He didn’t always receive the help he needed from his motley crew of guys, but he made the throws and looked, at least temporarily, like Heinz Field Ben. And he passed Terry Bradshaw’s record of 300+ yard games in the post-season, which, given the recent history with Bradshaw, is a really good thing. Read more
There’s no doubt about it—Steelers @ Patriots is likely to be a tense game. It’s possible (but not particularly likely) the Patriots will blow out the Steelers, putting the outcome in little doubt early in the game. It’s also possible (although even less likely) that the Steelers do the same. So let’s all assume the game is going to be a nail-biter, right down to the wire.
And if you have to endure a nail-biter, there’s nothing more comforting than a brownie, still faintly warm from the oven. And because this is such a special game, I’m going to reveal for the first time ever my mother’s amazing brownie recipe.
The last Steelers Super Bowl-winning defense—and Deebo looks just the same…
My title is, of course, wildly inaccurate, as the pointless speculation about this particular AFC Championship Game began the second the curtain descended on the Ravens game, leaving the Steelers with the AFC North crown.
I wonder, by the way, what the AFC North crown actually looks like. I imagine it with a couple of Valkyries crossing swords—you know, the women from the Wagner opera (although the Norse legends from which Wagner drew his material long pre-dated the 19th century.)
See what I mean? I think the speculations should be opened up freely this weekend. After all, some of us at least need to distract ourselves from worrying about the game.
Let’s hope Tom will be seeing a lot of James on Sunday…
Although I used the more traditional name for Sunday’s opponent, it’s highly unlikely that anyone has forgotten the more informal sobriquet bestowed upon them by Mike Tomlin last Sunday evening. And whether Mike Tomlin actually thinks of the Patriots as constitutionally different than all the other teams or not, I would venture to guess Steeler Nation does. Many believe the Pats robbed the Steelers of two Super Bowl appearances.
I looked up the final scores of those two AFC Championship games, and discovered the 2001 game was won 24—17 by New England, and the 2004 game by a score of 41-27. I don’t know whether this merely indicates that Belichick got better at utilizing the information as he went along, or whether it’s a conspiracy theory sort of thing, but there is no doubt Belichick had video materials for both games. How much difference it made is up for debate.
Shall we dance?
By Hombre de Acero
The Pittsburgh Steelers went into Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday and are now headed to New England for the AFC Championship game, thanks to six Chris Boswell field goals, stout defense and excellent special teams. But before we see whether the Black and Gold will qualify for a shot at climbing the Stairway to Seven, this corner of Steelers Nation must first answer these 5 Smoldering questions.
1. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was revving between the 20’s but stalled badly in the end zone, to the tune of 0 touchdowns on 4 visits. What do you think is the root of the issue, and does it give you cause for concern looking ahead