Category Archives: Commentary

The Todd Haley Question: Point/Counterpoint, Part 1

A7E66198-FE43-4516-B882-F530411F6299.jpegPhoto via USA Today Sports

Or so I suspect. Ivan commented in his responses to the 5 Smoldering Questions yesterday that he had too many thoughts to share in a comment format and that he would be writing them up. The reason I say “Point/Counterpoint” is that I expect our viewpoints are somewhat different.

But before I share my own thoughts, here are some from a commentor by the name of Wes Lee who left this on our Facebook page: Read more

The 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers Season: Aristotle Would Be Proud

E93FCEE1-6231-4549-9E8A-48E34FBADCF1.jpegThis isn’t really an analysis or review of the season or anything like that, at least not from a football perspective. It’s simply a commentary, or more possibly an attempt to reach catharsis.

As I tossed on my proverbial couch, because here in Europe the game didn’t end until after bedtime, it occurred to me how much like a Greek tragedy this game was. In some ways it was even a microcosm of the season.

The season itself featured a new dramatic incident each week. Some of them were more dramatic (and serious) than others. All of them revealed some flaw in the character of these men we so admire and whose doings we follow.  These flaws were right in line with something out of a classic tragedy, whether of Aristotle or his more modern decedents such as Shakespeare. Read more

Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Fourth Quarter Report: Part Four

675C85CD-837D-430D-8714-83337356E10CPhoto via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

Defense

Spent some time in the last segment reminiscing about the good old days when Steelers fans thought of the offensive line as the problem children. That mantle has been passed on to the defensive secondary. So, there has been some disorientation with how things have been playing out throughout this season. How is it possible that the problem child could be among the league leaders through much of the season in the virtual blink of an eye? Conversely, why are they giving up so many big plays?

Taking that second question first: I thought there was so much distain for the bend-but- don’t-break zone driven philosophy. We wanted more man principles. Well, as they say, be careful what you ask for. They’re getting off the field quickly now. Just kidding, sort of.

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Rookie Matters (or, Rookies Matter)

0C6372A2-A8DE-4656-835A-062556A3EA3EI realize that about a million words have already been written about the last few rookie classes. But I have never shied away from adding a few thousand more to any subject, and it won’t stop me this time either.

Those of you who have been reading my musings know that I’ve only been a Steelers fan since the end of 2009, which was a curious time to start taking an interest, right smack dab in the middle of the worst losing streak of Mike Tomlin’s career. At that time I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to know about things like rookies, although I quickly figured out the draft, since it gave me an opportunity to look over a great many handsome promising young players. Read more

Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Fourth Quarter Report: Part Three

A658B5B2-FB0F-41DF-B4A6-05CE4892A8A7By Ivan Cole

Offense

Earlier in the season it all seemed upside down and wrong. Predicted to be the strength of the team, the offense was sputtering. They and the team were being carried by a defense which appeared to be as much of a surprise in the opposite direction. Folks were fully engaged in one of the favorite pastimes of Steelers Nation—hating on offensive coordinator Todd Haley. A few individuals were grumbling within the unit. There were suggestions that some players were losing one or more steps, while others had reached the ceiling of their capabilities. Had that juggernaut Steeler offense, led by the Killer B’s, been just a mirage, a tease?

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Pittsburgh Steelers Fourth Quarter Report, Part 1

E07A5A20-E908-4AEC-BE40-8DADA9353D3BPhoto via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

A different approach

Of course, the great news is that though the regular season is concluded, this is not the end. This is the key objective and measure of success for every professional football franchise. The team met, indeed, exceeded comfortably the standard that allows for participation in overtime—the fifth quarter playoffs–the penultimate goal for the Pittsburgh organization.

Nonetheless, I believe this to be the proper time to assess this team’s journey. I feel this approach is merited for three reasons:

While the ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl, realistically, success in the regular season is the variable over which you can exercise the most control in preparation and performance. Failure in this area renders playoff concerns irrelevant. Plus, there are factors in the playoff equation that often defy common assumptions from the beginning of the team building process. For example, who would have asserted six months ago that it would be Jacksonville, as opposed to Houston, who would be breathing down the Steelers’ neck in the playoff chase?

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