photo via Steelers.com
I guess I’m going to have to stick with this format until the Steelers start impressing on both sides of the ball. Once again I’m not too cheesed off, because the Steelers won. But, due to no fault of their own, the Steelers’ defense is still going to be questioned until they have to face a more formidable quarterback, and the offense is going to get questions about when they are going to start producing like it seems reasonable to expect of them. So let’s get started:
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.
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
After 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.
No matter who you are, how great your career, one day, the Turk will come for you. If you are unfamiliar with the Turk, he is football’s version of the Grim Reaper. One of the toughest things for fans to accept is when a long time Steeler favorite reaches the end of the road. Unless you retire on your own terms, à la Heath Miller, the Turk will come.
The player is often not the decision maker of when his time is up. Occasionally, the Steelers have engineered a peaceful end to the career of an iconic player. More often the “retirements” involve some measure of resistance and/or hard feelings. Rarely, do players perceive that the end is near. With most highly competitive athletes, there’s always a rock solid belief that there is one more good season.
Often, the great ones can still play, but not at the level which justifies their compensation and its effect on the team’s salary cap.
Therefore, placid dignified retirements are rare. Heath’s departure was classy and low key. Ike Taylor’s farewell lacked drama too, though surely he saw the Turk approaching. The Bus had a fairytale ending. He was fortunate; life rarely cedes a happily ever after.
Things 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
Matthew Emmons, USA Today Sports
Hombre’s epitaph was short and to the point:
As disappointing as the Pittsburgh Steelers playoff loss was, I concur with Dale Lolley that Pittsburgh’s latest loss on the road against the Broncos Mile High represents a microcosm of the Steelers 2011 season. Pittsburgh had all of the elements of greatness, but just couldn’t muster them at the right time.
So be it.
Both of the linked articles are good reads, if a bit depressing.
The Steelers face a lot of tough decisions in the off season, and there’s no better way to get the debate surrounding those decisions started than with the 2011 season’s final Five Burning Questions “Down But Not Defeated” Edition.
This question was interesting, since we know the end of the story: Read more
It’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.
Week 1 was fun, but Week 2 on Dancing With the Stars is where the pedal starts to hit the metal. There are no eliminations in Week 1, but one couple has to go during Week 2.
The first few eliminations are generally fairly easy, at least if the season in which Hines Ward competed is any indication. There always seem to be a couple of “stars” who just don’t have the, well, star power to overcome their technical weaknesses and lack of natural ability, and they generally get weeded out fairly quickly, unless they are happen to be very popular for some non-dancing reason. Then they may hang on for a few weeks longer than their Week 1 dances would have predicted.
So who is staying and who is going? Let’s find out…
As I noted the preview article, I will be not only reporting on how Antonio Brown is doing on Dancing With The Stars, but how it compares to Hines Ward’s appearance on the show five years before. So let’s get right to it. First, let’s see what I had to say about the whole idea, all those years ago:
When it was announced that Hines Ward would appear on Season 12 of Dancing With The Stars, the reaction from Steeler Nation was conflicted. On one hand, it would be great to let the world see Hines Ward the philanthropist, the untiring worker, the guy who loves his job so much that he pops up from even the most brutal hit—given or received—with a big smile on his face. But come on, it’s Dancing With The Stars. Steeler Nation had already moved on from and buried the memory of Lynn Swann taking ballet classes. We didn’t need any more of this dancing nonsense.
Ward ultimately decided to participate, and Steeler Nation was supportive because that’s what Steelers fans do. But it was with considerable trepidation that we watched the first show—those of us who could bring ourselves to watch, that is. Would Hines wear an outrageous costume? Was he going to forget his routine and look like an idiot? Would he remember his routine but look really uncomfortable…?
Happily, the answer to all of the above was a resounding “heck, no!” His costume was about as dignified as dancing costumes get. He certainly didn’t forget his routine. Most important, Ward looked like he was having a great time. Steeler Nation heaved a collective sigh of relief and settled in for the long haul, because by Week 2 it was obvious that Ward had what it took to last deep into the competition. Read more