5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers: Post-Chiefs Pre-Patriots Edition
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
2. In 2007 James Harrison established himself as a force to be reckoned with. Ever since then opposing offensive lines have made holding James Harrison without getting called an art form. Yours truly once published a “fake news”-style story saying the NFL had legalized holding James Harrison. In 2010, Neal Coolong kept a weekly column of “Harrison Holds” that weren’t called.
Do you take the fact that Kansas City’s successful 2-point conversion got called back because of a holding call on James Harrison as a sign that there is some sort of balance in the universe?
3. Since it was released, Antonio Brown’s 17 minute live-stream post-game video from the locker room has caused a lot of controversy. All parties involved have said all of the right things since then. What impact do you think this distraction will have on the AFC Championship game?
4.The need for a player with the “Field Flipping” ability of Ladarius Green should be obvious at this point in the playoffs. IF Green can suit up, and this is a big if, which other offensive player should give up his helmet?
5. The 1994 Steelers had a chance to stop the San Francisco 49ers from becoming the first NFL team to win 5 Super Bowls, but came up 3 yards short in the AFC Championship. The 1995 Steelers had a shot at stopping Dallas from winning a fifth Super Bowl, but Neil O’Donnell threw that away in Super Bowl XXX. In 50 tries, only two NFL head coaches have won four Super Bowls—Chuck Noll and the man he beat in his final NFL game, Bill Belichick.
From the Rooneys on down, no one in the Steelers organization would admit to this being an objective (nor should they) but how important is it for the Steelers to prevent Bill Belichick from getting a shot at Lombardi No. 5?
And since getting back to the AFC Championship game is a pretty big deal—as Ryan Shazier noted, a lot of guys have played a lot longer than he has and have never made it to one—I thought that we at Going Deep could respond in kind with a couple of bonus questions. This makes seven questions, which is perhaps a lucky number. Here they are:
6. During the now nine-game winning streak (the longest active streak in the league, as it happens) the Steelers seem to find a different way to win the game each week. Some of them are seemingly very unlikely indeed, like last Sunday’s win via six field goals and no touchdowns, which has never before produced a win when the other team scores two touchdowns. Do you find this disturbing or comforting?
7. When asked about Mike Tomlin’s characterization of next Sunday’s opponent during Antonio Brown’s unauthorized video stream, Ramon Foster implied that Tomlin’s remark was meaningless, as the view from the locker room is that all the other teams are thought of in those terms. However, it does seem rather different than Tomlin’s depiction of opponents as “gray faceless men” a few weeks previously. Do you believe Ramon Foster or do you think Tomlin reserves some sort of special animus for the Pats?
That’s it for this week. Let’s hope that next week will be the post-Patriots pre-Super Bowl edition. Let’s go, Steelers!