Author Archives: roxannafirehall

I Was Wrong. Again.

imageI’m not sure if this is a real article or just a long comment. I do think it explores the complicated relationship I have with professional football. My aim is to I contribute something to the important conversation  started by Momma’s article and commented on by several of our wise writers and regular commenters. 

Rebecca’s Friday article, Knowing” the Steelers – Fan Perceptions and Misconceptions was really a startlingly thought provoking piece. As I read her article and the comments, I immediately knew the issues were important and I wanted to consider and share them here at Going Deep.

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Ain’t No Sunshine: Heath Miller retires.

imageBill Wither’s mournful tune seems appropriate here. As our talented founder, Momma Rollett, said, we finally have news, but it’s not good. At best, Heath’s leaving is bittersweet.

When Little Darlin’ broke the news to me, I was surprised. I’ve got to think we all were. There were no rumors, murmurs or foreshadowing. Nobody dared whisper “Heath’s losing it,” mostly because it wasn’t true. While approaching the autumn of his career, Heath had yet to show any real significant erosion of skill, nor did his body begin to betray him.

Perhaps we could have seen it coming, if only because this exit is so very Heath-like. Three of the most used adjectives appearing in articles featuring this fine young man are nice, classy and humble. His retirement announcement was nice, classy and humble. Like Heath, it was quiet and reserved.

There was no victory lap. No hanging on until the front office had to tell him it was time to go. No serious injury forcing the inevitable choice. Heath walked away while he could. He’s still young and healthy at 33; seemingly with no regrets.

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Roxanna Firehall interviews Dan Rooney

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney gestures after his team beat the Arizona Cardinals to win the NFL's Super Bowl XLIII football game in Tampa, Florida, February 1, 2009. REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme (UNITED STATES)

Reuters

Gadzooks, what a great headline. It didn’t happen, but what a great headline.

I blame Momma Rollett. (Little Darlin’ knows a little bit about getting blamed for my misguided forays).  Momma did her Hombre recycling thing last Wednesday and it gave me a crazy idea. What if I stumbled into an elevator and surprisingly, Dan Rooney was there and we were alone. . . But not for just ninety seconds.

So off I went, into my own reverie:

As fortune would have it, we rode three floors or so and the elevator froze up! Holy moly, stuck in an elevator with Dan Rooney. I reluctantly called for help—at Mr. Rooney’s insistence. The nice lady who answered told me help was on the way, but it would be at least an hour until we would be extricated. Wow. That’s what I thought. That’s probably not what Mr. Rooney was be thinking. But, wow!

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Roxanna Firehall’s Zombie Football Reader – Fat Tuesday edition.

imageFull credit for the “Zombie Football” part of the title goes to Ivan, as coined in his fine series about surviving the the off season, linked here.

The Super Bowl is over and we now enter the dark days of the year where “experts” both real and imagined (almost entirely imagined) make stuff up or just say stupid sh*t because they need to draw readers and there isn’t anything else to talk about.

While I was aware of this phenomena, Ivan induced me to pay closer attention and actually take notice, even before the Super Bowl, of the types of stories which start to appear in the long soulless void between now and training camp.

For your reading pleasure (scoff, scoff), I have assembled some of the more pungent examples for you. To render things a bit more palatable, I did discover a couple of good articles, while not all Steeler related, they were important articles which you might enjoy.

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Next Man Up — Believe It

Mike Tomlin has always made a big deal of the “next man up” attitude. I have always thought this was a necessary concept for the team, but not terribly rooted in reality for the fans. Injuries to good players are going to cost a team because backups are backups for a reason. They lack either the talent or the experience (or both) to be a starter. Or so I thought.

Perhaps more than any season in memory, the injury bug bit the Steelers. It bit hard and often. Yet somehow, someway players stepped in and performed at levels I did not think were possible.

Yet despite the injuries and because many fans are all in with “the standard is the standard,” Steeler Nation is rife with fans who proclaim, ANYTHING SHORT OF WINNING THE SUPER BOWL IS FAILURE.

These fans are long on bravado, short on discernment.  This year, the team executed the next man up philosophy at a level I thought was impossible. To say the Steelers failed or that they accomplished nothing is ignorant. The fact that they went as far as they did was a triumph of good coaching and motivated players. The failure to win a   Super Bowl does not equate to a failed season.

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Runs Like a Deer, Hits Like a Truck — Steelers Middle Linebackers.

In this edition of The Steeler Way – the Good Guys, we shift gears again slightly. While I’ve focused on the character aspect of the Steeler Way, great play on the field is the basic component of our tradition. Middle linebacker has rock solid pedigree in the modern era.

Pittsburgh has employed a long line of excellent middle linebackers since rookie Jack Lambert first stepped on the field in 1974. In 1982, the Steelers went to a 3-4 defensive scheme. It was Joe Greene’s last season and he was no longer a full time player. Jack served as a bridge from the great 4-3 team to the “new” 3-4 alignment. I contend, despite a the excellence of his successors, it took two guys to replace Lambert. As a consequence, Jack will get his own article in this series.

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James Harrison, Hero or Thug?

Yes, I know. The title is jarring. But the fact is, while most Steelers fans admire and respect him, outside Steeler Nation, he’s an outlaw — a dirty player.

The fact that I chose to include Deebo in “The Steeler Way” series tips my hand as to where I come down. Yet, I will tell you, as I researched, doing my Going Deep due diligence, I became conflicted. The more I read, the more I reflected.

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