Tag Archives: Bruce Arians

Ben’s “”Rust” Issue, Part II

via Steelers.com

via Steelers.com

In Tuesday’s post I took a preliminary look at Ben Roethlisberger after he sits out a game for any reason, trying to decide whether his generally poor performances after returning from an injury are a matter of “rust” or something more insidious. The numbers were certainly indicative. Here, so you don’t have to switch to the previous article, are the numbers at issue:

Career Averages

Completion %: 64.0 QB rating: 94.0;TD/INT: 289/154

First game after sitting at least a week, for any reason:

Completion %: 63.7; QB rating: 87.0; TD/INT: 35/28

First game after sitting due to injury:

Completion %: 59.5*; QB rating: 72.3; TD/INT: 8/10

*This figure is corrected. It’s still bad, but not as bad as shown in the previous post. Read more

More on the Psyche of Kickers


Gene Puskar/AP Photo

I have written a number of articles through the years on the psychological aspects of performance in high-pressure situations, especially as it relates to kickers. As pointed out by Tim Booth, this week’s Sunday night game provides a tailor-made case study of an aspect of it I haven’t covered quite as much—how the reaction of a kicker’s coach after the fact affects them in the coming attempts.

In case you’ve been in an NFL-free cave since the end of the Steelers-Patriots game, last Sunday night’s game ended in a tie after the kickers for both Seattle and Arizona missed chip-shot field goals for the win. (Both attempts were under 30 yards.)

Since the public reaction of each kicker’s coach was so different, it is, as Booth noted, the perfect set-up for a psychology experiment. Here, in tweet form, is the essence of what each coach said:


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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

A Blast from the Past: Questions We Were Debating Back in the Day III

Ben’s Giant Shoe

Hopefully you know the drill by now, so we’re going to jump right into what was exercising us back in 2011.

As we saw in last Sunday’s post, the secondary has been under the lens since—well, probably since the forward pass became a legal play in football. But it certainly has created a lot of angst in Steeler Nation. So what other questions look remarkably topical?

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