Packers @ Steelers—Something for Everyone
Photo via Steelers.com
By Ivan Cole…in which Ivan gives the best description of being a Steeler fan I’ve ever read.
Rebecca raises the question ‘Are you entertained?’, and the definitive answer is yes. But let’s delve deeper.
Obviously, for all but the most masochistic of Steelers fans, you don’t need this kind of entertainment. If you were wondering what it might be like to devoured by a tiger while the incident was being taped on YouTube, this was pretty close. You know that the video will certainly go viral, but the next few moments are really going to suck. There was a happy ending, but like some of the best amusement park rides (thrills and chills) there was a lot screaming, cursing, vomiting and petitions to God along the way. On the other hand, for the relatively disinterested observer, and especially NBC and the NFL, this was beyond great. Remember that there had been talk of switching this game to four in the morning because Aaron Rodgers was out, and the contest showed all the promise of being a real stinker, where most of the east coast could tune out after the first quarter and get a full night’s sleep before facing that post-holiday Monday.
You can be certain that Steelers haters hung in until their hearts were ripped out at the very last tick of the clock. I am sure that the league’s media partners are trying to figure out how they might simulcast all of Pittsburgh’s remaining games, because this particular group of Steelers seem to know how to turn a trip to the store for toilet paper into an exciting nail biter.
The Killer Bees
They all showed up and did their things. This included the second tier Bees, Martavis Bryant and Chris Boswell. Then there was the demon child Bee, Artie Burns, who played an essential role in digging the holes that the others had to climb out of at a high degrees of difficulty. Very entertaining.
The Yinzer Cult of Doom
Homer correctly pointed out that last week’s thrashing of the Titans led to something of an existential crisis for the YCOD. What a gloomy holiday season they were facing. No more! They now have the best of both worlds; a victory, and a reason to fire each and everyone associated with the Steelers. Who said you couldn’t please everyone?
If you weren’t before, you are now. Apparently, having nothing better to do, Post-Gazette writer Gene Collier noted that the Steelers defense hadn’t given up a touchdown in the first possession of a game since the Eisenhower Administration (I may be exaggerating slightly), and then ended his piece confessing that he might have jinxed the team. Guess what? Nothing more need be said. But that’s the least of it, because…
Mike Tomlin loses his mind!
The head coach had a psychotic break during a conversation with Tony Dungy, abandons coach speak, and tells the truth. He says it’s all about the big showdown with the Patriots, which, of course, is just a warm up to Armageddon between the same two teams in January. Nooooo! Let’s not fool ourselves. We all know its true, and most of us have been thinking this since the Bye at least, and even as far back as the immediate aftermath of the Kansas City game.
But the Demons and Imps that punish hubris with trap games and turnovers must be mollified. Tomlin was our rock. Indeed, as Gerry Dulac pointed out postgame, when sane, if you had made that suggestion Tomlin would have been the first to bite your head off.
This led me to have to agree with Rodney Harrison, channeling Belichick, who states that you don’t look past the current opponent and tempt bringing down the wrath of the gods upon yourself. Oddly, Dungy, a conservative sort, smiled maniacally and agreed with Tomlin.
Down is up
And then the Steelers went out and spent the evening dodging the lightning bolts. The YCOD are doing cartwheels. You know who else is doing cartwheels? Marvin Lewis, John Harbaugh and the networks.
Just so happens that there may be the perception that the Steelers are blowing off the fact they are facing both the Bengals and the Ravens before that confrontation with New England. Baltimore and Cincinnati, both staring competitive death in the face, will grasp that straw, and will try to use it to throttle their nemesis, or at least try to cripple them to the point that they at least fall short of the Lombardi.
The Burfict/Pacman Bengals may be quite literal about this, which will be what to watch for this week. Beyond, the Ravens lie in wait, hoping to pounce on a wounded animal. If you can’t win the game, kick over the board.
However, at the end of the day, after all the thrills and chills, the Steelers stand at 9-2. A winning season assured. While the mathematical possibility exists that they don’t win the AFC North, things do appear dire for their rivals within the division. Jacksonville, who was breathing down their necks as a threat to their possible playoff seeding, lost ground yesterday, leaving the field (truthfully) for now to the Steelers and the Pats.
Still, we have no idea what to expect. Normally, such an effort as last night’s would set off serious alarm bells, but this is, to use a Tomlin term, an arrhythmic group, capable of struggling against the worst while eviscerating the best. Prepare for a December to remember.