Category Archives: Commentary

The Real Issues Facing the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers

By Ivan Cole

I have written previously about the ‘fake news’ that rises this time of the year concerning the Steelers and the rest of the NFL. We are still some distance from clarity as to all the operative narratives that will fully describe the 2018 season, but some of the potentialities are obvious even as the off-season conditioning effort is just commencing, and we are still weeks away from the draft.

Whither Shazier?

Ryan Shazier will not play for the Steelers in 2018, but the trajectory of his life and NFL career may well impact this season and the organization for years to come. If you are young or otherwise not much up on the history of the franchise you might be surprised to learn that this isn’t the first time that a player and the organization faced a verdict of ‘may never play again’. Taking a look at the two most notable examples we learn something uplifting and important about the human spirit and how two men and the leadership of the Steelers organization responded to these challenges.

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What Killed the Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Season?

By Ivan Cole

As has been noted in these spaces before, the off season can evolve its own strains of hysteria concerning the state of a team. I think Art Rooney II got it right when evaluating the season—he pointed out that a 13-3 record signifies a very good year. For a fan base that measures success in Lombardi Trophies it is easy to dismiss the regular season as meaningless. But as Rooney noted, few teams can point to many instances when they have done that well. I would add that nearly a third of the schedule was played against eventual playoff teams, so the record was not a cheap or inflated achievement.

This highlights a disquieting, even disturbing truth about the game: Ultimate success often hinges not upon big problems. As often as not, one event, a game, even just a play or two can determine the outcome of entire seasons. What follows is one person’s opinion of what derailed the Steelers’ run to the Super Bowl in 2017.

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Bubbles and Fake Sports News

Image via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

Hombre brought this little nugget from a recent Ed Bouchette chat transcript to my attention.

D Hawk: Hi Ed. Don’t you think it’s time to move off from Ben? Maybe try to get Rivers,

Cutler or Cousins? They will never win with Ben.

Ed Bouchette: Thank you for our weekly laugh of the chat. Please drive home safely.

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you probably think that the above comment is more than a bit unhinged. However, no matter how stunning such an assertion might strike us, if you find it surprising you just haven’t been paying attention. It would be oh- so-easy to dismiss this as being simply moronic, but I think that misses the mark.

Recently, there has been a lot of conversation in the mainstream culture about the trend towards tribalization and the insulated bubbles of perceived reality that develop as a result. While it appears to be a revelation to some, it has been the norm in the universe of sports fandom for quite some time. What is Steelers Nation but a tribe? Arguably one of 32 in the NFL alone. Each of these tribes operates within its own matrix and are also connected to larger informational networks. The connection within and between these universes and some shared, agreed upon version of reality can be tenuous.

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Tackling the Big Questions, No. 1: To Keep or Not to Keep

Photo via Steelers.com, illustrating some of those intangibles…

I’m launching another new offseason feature this year, because as Kevin Colbert said in his recent press conference, if you keep doing the same thing, why would you expect a different result? (Although why we would want a different result than a 13-3 season and winning the division was not stated, except, I suppose, for that little “first-round playoff exit” thing…)

And I don’t know what different result I’m aiming for, either. Truth to tell, I just like the sound of the headline, and you’re going to see it a lot, exploring different issues. Today’s issue, as you might suspect, is the potential free agents whose status is still very much up in the air at the moment.

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A Potpourri of Steelers Talk

Photo via Steelers.com

There’s a surprisingly large amount to report/discuss/disagree about in the Steelers universe, given that we are only one week out from the most offensive Super Bowl in the history of the game. (Read that as you like.)

For one thing, the Steelers have been busy making small signings and salary restructures, the former to take care of impending free agents of one sort or another, the latter presumably in the name of freeing up the cartloads of money it will take to re-sign Le’Veon Bell.

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What I Saw in the 52nd Super Bowl: A Great Championship Game

Photo via PatriotsWire/USA Today Sports

By Ivan Cole

I had originally planned to not watch the game but changed my mind. I was glad I did. It was almost certainly the most entertaining offensive spectacle of a championship game, beginning to end, there has been. Further, the outcome, and the manner that it was reached was probably the best the league could hope for given the circumstances.

You didn’t have to be a Patriots hater or buy too deeply into the ‘cheaters/conspiracy’ narratives to believe that it would be best for the game that they lost. The league has staked its business model on being anti-dynastic (more commonly referred to as parity) for some pretty good reasons. Even some Pats fans were hoping to break the cycle this year. Read more

So What’s The Catch?

Photo via Michigan Insiders

The balance in the world order has been somewhat restored, as the Philadelphia Eagles outscored Tom Brady and the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

Just kidding. Wait, I’m not kidding. But if I were an Eagles fan this morning, I would probably check the headlines a couple of times, just to make sure I didn’t dream the whole thing.

And all is right in Momma’s world, as pretty much the lone defensive hero of said Super Bowl was none other than Momma’s very first pick in her very first BLA Mock Draft. At the time I said:

Scouts Inc. has him at #18, cbssports has him at 28 and rising, and he won the Senior Bowl MVP. We need to get some younger players on the D-line, and frankly finding a good linebacker that is a pleasure to look at isn’t easy. This gentleman gets my recommendation.

And in case you’re wondering, the photo was the one published with the article. Which I would link, but a Google search didn’t reveal its location…

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