Category Archives: Dancing With the Stars

Job Security in the NFL: Steelers Part 2


IBecause a picture of Deebo is never inappropriate….

In Part 1 I posed the question, are there players on the Steelers who could find themselves displaced after an injury by the player who replaced them. The classic example is the guy in the picture above, who replaced Joey Porter (now Outside Linebackers Coach Porter) on Monday Night Football and never looked back.

I looked at the offense yesterday, and you can see that post here. Today let’s look at the defense. Read more

Dancing With the Stars: Was It All Worth It?



As I’m sure you all realize by now, Antonio Brown was eliminated in the semi-finals, although he will also be dancing in tonight’s coronation, I suppose you could call it. But Hines Ward did make the finals, so first I’ll cover that, and then talk about the outcomes. We know the outcome for Hines—the outcome for Antonio Brown is baseless speculation at this point. But that’s never stopped me before.

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Dancing With the Stars: Week 9 Semi-finals


Via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Antonio made it through the quarter-finals by the skin of his teeth, thanks to a good performance and a spectacular group performance in which choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba highlighted the athleticism of Brown and fellow contestant Paige.

But last week’s level of competition wasn’t going to be enough to send Antonio to the finals.
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Dancing With the Stars: Antonio in the Quarterfinals


via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thanks to Steeler Nation, Antonio is still in business (as in “Business is Booming,” I suppose) on DWTS. As the sole remaining NFL player, hopefully he can uphold the shield, if you will.

But it seems his desire to win the Mirror Ball Trophy didn’t get in the way of his obligations to the Steelers. In fact, the “obligations” weren’t, as Phase 2 OTAs are entirely voluntary for veterans. Nonetheless, AB was hard at work on Tuesday morning, which is pretty impressive considering he finished the DWTS taping on Monday night just after 10 pm Eastern time.

He even spent some time last week organizing a celebrity softball game, to be held in early June, with the proceeds benefitting Children’s Hospital. As he exited the meeting he noted he had a dance rehearsal. Let’s hope he’s left enough time for DWTS. As it gets closer to the finale, the judges expect more, the routines get more challenging, and they throw extra things at the dancers. Read more

Group Psychology and Teamwork: The Similarities Between Team Antonio and Team Steelers

I hope those of you who couldn’t care less about Dancing With the Stars and feel Antonio Brown is wasting his time will bear with me for a moment, because something happened in last week’s episode which got me to thinking about a lot of stuff football fans say (and believe) which is perhaps meaningless. Or perhaps it is meaningful, but not because of what we think.

I refer to expressions like “they play down to their opponent,” “they came out flat”, and other such phrases which seem to be at least somewhat analytical in nature. But when you parse them out, they often turn out to be a sort of disguised tautology, because the statement is only being made because of the result and is based upon the perception of the viewer.

If the Steelers play the 2016 equivalent of the Cleveland Browns, (and that team might well still be the Browns) and they win the game by three points, then we will hear the constant refrain that they “played down to their opponent” or “came out flat.” If they lose by three points to, say, the Bengals, or the once-again-quarterbacked-by-Tom-Brady Patriots, the perception will likely be different. But is the perception correct, or merely perceived in this way because of the assumed prowess of the opponent?

I have written at length about the razor-thin edge that separates the best and the worst teams, and why the saying “any given Sunday” is so apt. The question here is, is there anything in what one might term “team psychology” to justify (or perhaps to better explain) such expressions? Read more

Dancing With the Stars: Did Antonio Make the Cut[s]?

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 12.32.12 AMAfter a seriously disappointing Week 5, Team Antonio re-bonded as a team in Week 6. Of course, this was partly because the Week 5 partner switchup was over and Sharna was back. But it was also because Antonio cleared the air with Sharna, saying he felt she didn’t believe in his will to win. From the indications we’ve been getting all along about AB’s seeming sense of entitlement and lack of the little things, like showing up on time for rehearsals, she could be forgiven for this.

But perhaps seeing his chances fading jolted him into reality. Maybe he really did care all along and wasn’t very good at communicating this. Who knows? The whole point of reality TV seems to be to create as much drama as possible. If it doesn’t occur naturally, careful editing can manufacture it.

But Antonio was back, better than ever, with a jive that wowed the judges and pulled him off of the “danger” list. In fact it was former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie who went home after last Monday night.

Can Antonio sustain the momentum, or will he get complacent again? The latter would seem surprising, as he’s spent his whole career persuading people who thought he wasn’t big enough or fast enough or awesome enough to make it in the NFL that they were wrong.

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Dancing With the Stars: Is This the End for Antonio?

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.33.06 PMLast week was a huge disappointment for Antonio fans. His dance, a cha cha with switched-up partner Karina, was fun, energetic, exciting, and fell flat with the judges. They criticized his timing, his technique, and the dance itself (which really falls on pro dancer/choreographer Karina). He received the lowest score of the evening, while usual partner Sharna received the highest—the first ten given all season—with temporary partner Nyle.

This week it was back to the drawing board for the reunited AB and Sharna, and let’s hope they have figured out how to make the judges happy again. The audience loves him, of course, and Karina was obviously stunned and upset with the harsh assessment of the judges.

But before we look at this week’s dances, let’s see how Hines Ward did in Week 6, back in 2011.

The answer was, just fine:

It was “Guilty Pleasures” night, and each couple danced to a song that the celebrity is a bit ashamed to admit that they like. (I think that was the point, anyhow.) Hines danced a Viennese Waltz to “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, which he admitted that he likes to belt out in the shower. (He also said that he thinks of the water as his fans – not sure where that’s going.) [Ironically, Wanyá, consistently one of the top male contestants this season, sings with Boyz II Men.]

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Dancing With the Stars: Can Antonio Keep Up the Momentum?

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 11.46.13 PMLast week Antonio and partner Sharna wowed the judges with his jazz routine. Although perhaps “wowed” is the wrong word, as I got the feeling this was what they’ve been hoping for, and even expecting, from him all along.

This week the show has thrown a monkey wrench into things by switching everyone’s partner for a week. AB will now be dancing with Karina, who usually partners another of the NFL guys, ex-QB Doug Flutie.

But before we look at this week’s dances, let’s see how Hines Ward was doing at this point, back in 2011. As I wrote then:

Ward was, surprisingly, subject to performance anxiety throughout the competition. He even admitted that he often felt like throwing up before going onstage. He was especially nervous about the week five rumba, as it is a slower dance that requires more control.

So what did the judges have to say?

  • Bruno – “Ease of movement, musicality, and just the right amount of sensuality to make all the ladies swoon!
  • Well played.”
  • Len – “It’s not false – it has a naturalness, an ease and an elegance that is charming, and I think that’s probably your best dance.”
  • Carrie Ann – “You make it look so easy – I’m getting worried for you because you make it look so easy, but that’s a good thing.” Read more

Dancing With the Stars Week 4: All That Jazz

Week 4Things are getting a bit tense in Antonio’s world. The six o’clock news had a short segment yesterday evening showing some clips from rehearsal and asking some questions.

One of the questions—does he take the judges’ criticisms personally—was answered in the negative, with AB indicating that as long as Sharna is happy with what he’s doing he doesn’t worry too much about the judges.

But it sounded a bit like whistling in the dark to me, because after all it is the judges who ultimately make the decision. Steeler Nation may be turning out in force and making sure there isn’t an early exit for the couple, but in the end it is a judges’ decision. And you just know that it has to stick in AB’s craw, because he is such a fierce competitor. Whether he has been focusing his  legendary work ethic on the task at hand is a question, of course, and one I can’t answer. I noted he seems to have a lot of other things going on as well, and perhaps he overestimated how quickly he could learn. Or perhaps it’s just a lot harder than he thought.   Read more

Week 3 of Dancing With the Stars: Antonio’s Rubicon?

Week 3It’s Week 3, and things are heating up. Antonio Brown slipped from tied for second place (along with about five other people) in Week 1 to being in sole possession of fifth place. In other words, only four up from the bottom.

The buzz before the broadcast was that AB’s oldest son would join him for his Week 3 dance, and his son is a pretty cute kid. I’ve watched him run sprints with the players at training camp under the proudly beaming face of papa, and I’m guessing he will be quite the little showman.

But let’s see what actually happened. First, back to 2011.

Hines Ward: Samba

It was “Story Night,” and Hines’ “story” honored his mother. Hines requested a black and gold costume and pulled out a Terrible Towel to twirl at the end.

Instead of the current 2-hour format, at that time there were two one-hour shows on back to back nights, will the second night being the results show. On that occasion, when the judges gave their results, they stood up and twirled Terrible Towels as well.

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