5 Smoldering Questions: the 2016 Finale
by Hombre de Acero
The 2016 NFL seasons has come to its end and, as much as we might not like it, the New England Patriots are 5-time Super Bowl Champions. Many if not most Steelers sites have long since shut the book on the Steelers 2016 campaign, but in keeping with this site’s commitment to offer an introspective view of the Steelers, we take one last Smoldering look at 2016 before shifting to the off season and free agency.
1. Shortly after our last edition of the 5 Smolderings, I was commiserating with a Dallas Cowboy fan who observed this:
“As much of a disappointment it is to lose in a Championship Game, it still can’t replicate the pain of that Divisional Round loss after twice tying the game in the 4th quarter; it’s still going to take a long while until I am over that game.”
The Steelers have had their share of heartbreaking AFC Championship game losses. Would it have been easier for you as a fan to swallow this loss had it gone down to the wire? More importantly, do you think the lopsided nature of the loss will have negative repercussions moving forward?
2. Speaking of which, the Steelers latest AFC Championship loss to the Patriots seems not only to have elicited negativity from the naysayers in Steelers Nation, but also inside the Steelers locker room.
This sort of thing has been, mercifully, rare in Pittsburgh. What do you make of it and do you fear this will spill over into the rest of the off season and/or into 2017?
3. Well before Tom Brady ever got his hands on his 7th Lamarr Hunt AFC Championship trophy, Steelers Nation saw no shortage of “fans” who bemoaned that “Tomlin still has only won with Cowher’s players.”
Various authors on this site have thoroughly debunked that idea and there’s no need to revisit it here.
However, Kevin Colbert inherited Jerome Bettis, Alan Faneca, Hines Ward, Deshea Townsend, Joey Porter and Aaron Smith—all pivotal pieces to success in Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII. And yet, no one ever accuses Kevin Colbert of being unable to win without Tom Donahoe’s players.
In this writer’s view this is a bad measuring stick, but even so, why isn’t Kevin Colbert held to the same standard?
4. In looking back at the season, Mike Tomin’s “Moving Train” metaphor seemed particularly apt to describe the Steelers 2016 season (with the exception of the Cowboys game). When the Steelers were on it, even when they were behind, they never seemed to lose control of the game. Conversely, when they got knocked off it, they never inspired confidence that they could come back and contest the game.
Do you accept that metaphor? And if so what does it say about the development of this team?
5. Tomorrow morning when you step outside of your house, Doc Brown and Marty McFly appear with the Delorean and offer to take you to the site of a meeting held on February 9th 2016 between Dan Rooney, Art Rooney II, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, where you’ll be allowed to use the benefit 20/20 hindsight to offer them ONE piece of advice for the coming year.
What do you tell them?
Off season bonus question:
6. If there is one thing that is clear about the 2016 season, it is that the New England Patriots’ dominance over the Steelers is unequivocal. They are to this era what the Steelers of the 70s were, with the Steelers perhaps occupying the place of the 1970s Cowboys.
Is it still possible for Pittsburgh to reverse that trend?
There you go folks. That wraps up our 5 Smoldering Questions for the 2016 season. We will of course have editions as warranted during Free Agency and the draft. Coming up with 5 engaging questions week in and week out gets more challenging with each passing season, but thanks go out to all of you who took time to share your answers.
Now have at it folks!