Tag Archives: Troy Polamalu

5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 5

photo via Steelers.com

Once again Hombre de Acero is pottering around the globe, with no consideration whatsoever for the needs of this little corner of Steeler Nation. I may have to cut his salary in half. (Although it wouldn’t make much difference, however much I cut it down.) But seriously, Hombre, be safe and come back with a brain bursting with awesome questions! In the meantime you all will have to make do with 5 Spluttering Questions on last week’s triumph in the Charm City and next week’s tilt with the Jaguars. I am at least going to avoid the low-hanging fruit, so thus there will be nothing about Ben, Bell, or AB:

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Why I Still Love Football – and the Steelers

james conner

Jarrad Henderson, USA TODAY Sports

A week and a half ago I wrote one of my patented Momma’s Mock Drafts I was out of town from the Monday through Wednesday before the draft, so I wrote a post encompassing Rounds 4-7, planning to then publish Rounds 1-3 on Thursday.

Strangely, I returned to discover no trace of my Round 4-7 post, and had to incorporate what I could remember into a 7-round draft on Thursday. One of the problems with this was that I had such a great ending for the Monday post. It didn’t fit in the middle of a 7-round draft, though, so I axed that part of it, with the intention of expanding upon the idea. Read more

Training Camp Battles: Veteranosity vs. Youth


USA Today Sports

We hear a lot about “camp battles” this time of year. I don’t know that we really think about what this means, from the standpoint of the guys battling, because to do so would in some cases break your heart. But I want to focus on one aspect of the camp battles.

There are many possible types of camp battles, and they aren’t always a matter of veteran status (with the Steelers) vs. rookie. Sometimes it is a group of young ‘uns—this generally happens with the wide receivers. The famous instance of that was Mike Tomlin’s “two dogs one bone” between Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, although it wasn’t a tremendously long time before Tomlin was forced to look for another bone, because both guys earned a spot.

But very frequently camp battles are between a (at least relatively) grizzled veteran and the new kid on the block, and that’s the sort I’m going to focus on here.

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A Blast from the Past: Regrading the 2013 Draft


Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

The title is a bit deceptive, because I never actually graded the 2013 draft, or any draft for that matter. But as I have been looking up information about the various players the Steelers chose in 2013, most recently for Le’Veon Bell, I have been intrigued at how often I have run across words such as “abysmal” to describe the 2013 draft class as a whole. Since they generally appear in articles whose purpose is to regrade that draft, that’s how we’ll roll.

I’m going use this exercise as part of my BFTP review of the No. 1 Steelers pick, because I think this is where the subject gets the most interesting. Jarvis Jones has been the focus of a lot of fan ire, or at least fan annoyance, as he hasn’t turned out to be the player the Steelers presumably thought they were getting, at least up to this point. It became quite evident when the Steelers chose not to pick up Jones’ fifth year. But is he a “bust?”

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Finishing the National Anthem

imageThere are a lot of possible ways to end this mini-series. One could go for a catalogue of the worst performances, although for really truly bad performances you need to move outside of the Super Bowl itself. (Roseanne Barr’s performance at a Padres game, complete with, IIRC, crotch grab, comes to mind, or Steven Tyler’s mauling [or do I mean caterwauling] at the 2011 AFC Championship Game.)

But I prefer to end on a positive note, so here are some performances I think are notable for musical interest.

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My Two Cents: Adios, amigo!

imageNo 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.

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The Archetypes of the Gridiron, and The Real Men on the Other Side

USA Today Sports photo

This article is by guest writer Andrew Swensen, a man I have gotten to know through the Pittsburgh Music Alliance, a cohort of five organizations, including mine, which he put together. The more I get to know him the more I find out about the vast range of his interests and knowledge. We happened to be talking before a meeting earlier this year and discovered we were thinking along similar lines in regards to sports figures. Here are his thoughts:

We love to tell stories. It is in our nature, and we do it all the time – even when we are not aware of it. Our lives become stories as we look for cause and effect, a beginning, middle, and end. On a smaller scale, particular days become a story for us, and a day becomes “good” or “bad” because of the story that we have made from events. This quality has been rooted in our play and our work since the time when we gathered around campfires to pass on our tribal history, and we continue it to this day.

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The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Music as an Avocation Part 1

photo: USA Today Sports

As I noted in one of the early posts in the series, “Practice Makes Perfect,” the amount of work and dedication required to become a professional musician and to become an NFL player aren’t really compatible.

This doesn’t mean music (or any other art form) cannot be a satisfying avocation for football players, as indicated by this NPR article which came out in the week prior to the last Steelers Super Bowl appearance:

The Green Bay Packers are a slight favorite over the Pittsburgh Steelers in this Sunday’s Super Bowl. Oddsmakers and football analysts typically base their predictions on the strength of offenses, defenses, players and coaches. But Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman has broken down the game differently: by weighing the musical talents of the teams and their home cities.

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A Blast from the Past: Mop-Up Duty

via Week 17 Legend a Ryan Clark tackle showing classic form

The December 28 2011 edition of 5 Burning Questions certainly began on a more cheerful note than that of the previous week. A 27-0 shutout, even of a bad team, will do that for you. (In fact, some might argue that the fact the Rams weren’t a very good team made them actually happier, as it showed the Steelers were capable of beating the teams they “should” beat.) But as Hombre said,

…even such a victory as this has left us with plenty of material for this week’s installment of the 5 Burning Questions.

The question which intrigued me the most was this one:

3. Michael Bean spelled out a number of individual milestones that players can reach in the Cleveland game (click here for Michael’s list). All these milestones are understandably important to individuals in question. But which individual milestones, if achieved, will tell you that the team is headed in right direction with the playoffs starting?

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