Category Archives: Commentary

Some More Random Thoughts on Steelers v. Bengals

Photo via Steelers.com/Karl Rosen

By Ivan Cole

Unlike Rebecca I saw the game in real time. These are the things that impressed me about this performance:

Meanness.

Rebecca and some others might have not have understood my comments in a previous post about Pittsburgh lacking a certain quality of meanness. I think this is because we often conflate ‘mean’ with ‘dirty’. This is, I believe, the Bengal’s fatal flaw. Cincinnati, as usual, was the dirtier team. Pittsburgh was the meaner team. What the highlights did not adequately convey was, despite the closeness of the score, how thoroughly the Steelers beat the Bengals up. The difference could be most clearly seen when comparing the play and effectiveness of Vance McDonald, who connects with Ben Roethlisberger through Bible studies and cancer survivor James Connor with that of Vontaze Burfict. Burfict played dirty. McDonald and Connor played mean. The result was a parade of Bengal players forced to the sideline, the locker room, and concussion protocol without roughness or unsportsmanlike penalties, while, despite threats and Cincinnati’s best efforts, the Steelers came through relatively unscathed. Read more

Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 First Quarter Report

Photo via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

A Friendly Reminder

Watching the Steelers during the first quarter of the 2018 season has been a dispiriting experience. That being said, let me remind you of points made in the season preview and elsewhere which warn about the weight that is placed on early season performances. Off the top of my head, here are some of narratives that we have been treated to over the course of the first month of the season:

  • After a loss to Jacksonville, the New England Patriots were declared washed up They have, as of this writing, won their past two games, including an impressive win over the, then, undefeated Miami Dolphins.
  • Based upon that same performance, the Jaguars were anointed a beast in the AFC. The following week they managed to score all of three points against Tennessee.
  • Beware the Ravens after they thumped Buffalo in the season opener, then promptly went to Cincinnati and lost.
  • The Bills, after being slaughtered in their first two games, were declared the worst team ever, and then they went to Minnesota.
  • With quarterback Jamais Winston suspended for the first three games Tampa Bay was supposed to be in deep doo-doo. Not.
  • Philadelphia is going to cruise right back to the Super Bowl.
  • The Steelers looked bad against Kansas City, and how good could the Chiefs possibly be?
  • The New York Jets are on their way!
  • The Steelers are toast. Fire everybody.

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The Case for the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers

Karl Rosen photo/ Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

I begin with my usual disclaimer that I focus on potentialities rather than predictions. Many things can and will happen between now and February that impact outcomes. I will address some of these shortly. That being said, it’s not going out on a limb to assert that the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers are legitimate Super Bowl Champion contenders as measured by the accumulated talent, organizational leadership and support. Unfortunately, there is more involved. What follows are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse that alone or in tandem can undermine a season.

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Of Raps and Rugby: A Pittsburgh Steelers Housekeeping Post

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Although Ivan has pretty much sewn up the “think globally” part of the site writing, I’m going to dip my toes back into those waters before continuing with my profiles of the new players, because several interesting bits of news have hit the stands.

But before I speak of things particular to the Steelers, I’m going to tackle a league-wide issue which, strangely, does not effect the Steelers, thank heavens—the increasing fuss over the “working” conditions of the NFL cheerleaders.

I’ve always been a fan of the Steelers eschewing cheerleaders, and given what I’m reading, I’m even gladder, although I can’t see the Rooneys treating “employees” with the same disdain as some of the teams.

In case you’re wondering why I have italicized “working” and “employees,” it is because many cheerleaders are not, apparently, paid in any significant way.

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The Journey to Seven Lombardis: Part 1

By Ivan Cole

If you are interested enough, the entire football year can be endlessly intriguing. As we move into the second week of OTAs it is still far too early to make much sense of where the Steelers stand in relation to securing that seventh championship this season, but enough of the puzzle pieces are in place to allow for some educated speculation.

Injuries and other handicaps

In past seasons the team often struggled with a high volume of injuries. As Head Coach Mike Tomlin has said, the injury rate in the National Football League is 100 percent, therefore it has been tempting to throw one’s hands in the air and declare that it is all just a matter of luck as to how things work out.

A few years ago, Art Rooney II threw the gauntlet down and declared the organization’s intention to get a better handle on the situation. It sounded at the time like Owner Speak, putting an optimistic face on a problem that was really beyond the capacity to influence.

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Momma Looks at the Actual Draft: Round 2

photo via Steelers.com/ Karl Roser

I won’t repeat my rather ambling preamble to the first post—feel free to read it if you’ve got a cup of coffee and some extra time. Let’s get right to it:

There was fairly general agreement among those writing about the Steelers’ likely draft, at least among those who are actually knowledgeable about the Steelers, that the Steelers would take a wide receiver at some point, maybe even as high as the 2nd or 3rd round. While it wasn’t exactly a major point of need, there were a couple of factors driving it—first, Martavis Bryant wouldn’t be with the team in 2019, and second, the Steelers like to do that.

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An Update on the Real Issues Facing the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers

By Ivan Cole

Since last we met on this topic the personnel situation has advanced significantly. The draft has occurred, free agents signed and a significant trade. How have these developments advanced the narrative?

A quarterback controversy

I don’t believe that we have had a full-blown version of this phenomena during the Ben Roethlisberger era, although there has been some drama and conversation surrounding back- ups. But the drafting of Mason Rudolph has impacted the entire quarterback room and will likely be a focus of conversation for years to come, regardless how the situation unfolds.

The current bottom-line as I understand it now is that unless there is an injury/IR circumstance like the one that unfolded during the 2010 season when Ben, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon were all on the roster, when the 2018 edition of the Steelers begins play in September one the players in that room, Ben, Rudolph, Landry Jones or Joshua Dobbs, will be gone. What should we look for going forward?

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