Cliches are like stereotypes, they can be very dangerous but there is a basis in fact for every one of them. For example, black men are better endowed, more athletic and better dancers than white men. The NBA is the perfect example of this correlation, name one white US born & raised NBA star that has two caucasian parents? Steve Nash is the closest although he is Canadian. Manu Ginóbili, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol are of respective Argentinian, German and Spanish descent. Does this stereotype subconsciously affect the white US players and limit their opportunity because NBA coaches assume they are too slow? Who knows but it is an interesting question. Currently the three best white US players are Kevin Love, JJ Redick and Kyle Korver. Bottom line, we are light years away from white stars like Larry Bird or Jerry West.
The Steelers and Steeler Nation must be wary of living on past glory because time is working against us. The lockout has changed the NFL landscape for various reasons as I outlined in this story "Lockout effects still lingering...". The final chapter is not yet written but time is running short so call a spade a spade.
Because of the lockout Steelers had (and may still have) a window of opportunity to make a Super Bowl run. Every team including all the best teams: Packers, Ravens, Patriots, Detroit, New Orleans, Houston, Oakland, Buffalo, Tennesse Washington and NY Giants/ San Diego/Tampa Bay/San Fran have exposed their weaknesses. On Any Given Sunday all these teams are exceptionally vulnerable with the possible exceptions of the Packers and Ravens. Packers are a well-oiled machine with a respectable defense and Ravens could beat everyone but the Packers by leaving their offense in the locker room. Steelers are right there with Cincinnati and the Cowboys, full of potential but suffering from a mid-life identity crisis. Oh-no-Romo may have have further cemented his legacy as a choker, you are who you are! Tony Romo is who he is and he is a choker because 99% of his black cat luck is the direct result of his bad decision making and time is also running short on Romo-the-terrible. The "oh-no-Romo 4th quarter choke curse" can be overcome like Dirk Nowitzki did this year but time is much more compressed in the NFL. And time is flowing like a river against oh-no, without a Raven or Jet quality defense Romo almost certainly will never win a Super Bowl, that's just not in his DNA. Hey, you can't shine shit, it is what it is.
And I have to say one thing about the Ravens, thank God Sexy Rexy is not coaching them or I don't know what kind of stars might have aligned. Say what you want about Rex but he with the Ravens would have spelled disaster, he and his brother Moses have forgotten more than other current coaches know about football. Well, there is one exception: The Sith Lord Palatine up there in New England. The one thing that could make the Ravens exceptional is the swagger that Sexy Rexy would bring them, just be thankful we don't have him shooting his mouth off in the setting for The Wire.
We have arguably the best fan base in the NFL and in the Super Bowl era we are the cream of the crop or more bluntly we are the tits. In the last five years we are clearly the best team in the NFL, over the last decade the Pats are the best team. And I don't want to argue about it because it is fact, not some kind of bullshit biased opinion based on hunch. It's the same thing that pisses me off about the Brady haters who want to try to bring him down based on the fact that he reps Uggs or had a Bieber cut. Brady is an all-time great winner who passed one of Joe Montana's records over the weekend. Brady is a better QB than Ben because mentally he is stronger than Ben. And I am not hating on Ben, he could still win more rings than Brady and is one of the top QBs in the NFL but comparing Brady to Ben is like saying Kobe is as good or better than Jordan. It is what it is.
Like I said many times before, Ben is a high-risk, high-reward QB whose DNA precludes him from giving up the rock. Oh-no-Romo is also a high-risk, high-reward QBs but Ben is savvy like that and nowhere near the choker Tony is. But Ben needs a better O-Line and he will be forced to adjust his style or we will sooner rather than later be drafting a new QB. Good to keep that in the back of your mind and avoid the same fate of the Manning-less Colts this year. Think Joe Theismann and Troy Aikman. Ben is one of the toughest SOBs to ever play QB but if he continues to take this kind of beating he will eventually we will roll snake eyes. We call Brady a pussy b/c of his style of play but he is a smart pussy. He learned this lesson three years ago when he sat out a whole season, live to die another day and lose the battle but win the war.
EVERY QB in the NFL is exceptional under the right circumstances, unfortunately, many are nowhere near the ideal situation. Not to mention, the ideal situation does not exist in the NFL or in real life. You may find out this year that Mr. Joe Flacco could f*ck up a wet dream if they continue to give him the rope to hang himself. On the other hand, Flacco may be a diamond in the rough but when he threw the pick-six just before halftime last night it brought back fond memories of the turd in the punch bowl reference. Hey Raven fans ignore it at your own peril! Yea, I know, yada, yada, yada...Flacco has rookie receiver corp and all that jazz but he does not dance to the same swagger song as say a Brady, Rodgers or Ben.... Instincts are still lacking with this one.
No QB that ever existed on planet earth could put in work behind our leaky dike O-Line. Our D-Line is also suspect but all should be right before we play the Pats. The O-Line is the bigger problem because it needs rhythm and harmony not brute force. Time is running short, if we continue to play the same way we will lose the next 2 of 3 games and then to the Pats and Ravens too. BUT this is the same mistake that many of us (including myself) make all the time like:
- Flacco has never beaten Ben
- We killed in pre-season, wow!
- We are destined and the best team in the Super Bowl era
- Remember 2008-2009 when we rose from the ashes
- We have an easy schedule
At the end of the day, the only thing the above list has near zero correlation to our current situation. And the idea that we have an easy schedule is based on last year's teams not this year's teams (also when 3 of 4 of your first games are on the road that by default is a hard schedule). We do have one thing that may allow us to rise from the ashes and that is our deep experience, winning tradition and superior coaching. But even this genuine, not perceived, advantage will make it very hard for us to sew a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Hook or crook, we need to come back stronger and win the next 3 games just like the Patriots did when they beat up on Oakland yesterday. Everyone kept telling me "you are crazy to pick the Patriots on the road giving 4.5 points with one of the worst defenses in the NFL and travelling across three time zones, Oakland is for real!" BUT I knew better than to project off the Buffalo loss and look at the big picture:
Remember last year when the Pats got destroyed by Cleveland then proceeded to roll over the competition until they ran into the Sexy Rexy buzz-saw? Over the last decade, under Brady Pats have an overall regular season winning percentage of 76.4% (decade 75.63%) and a road winning percentage of 68.06%. This makes their home winning percentage a redonkulous 84.7%. During the Steel Curtain Era (decade ended 1980) we won 70.6% and this decade we won 66.25%. Life is all about perspective.
Opinions are like assholes and everyone has one but the numbers never lie. The Texans kept us in the game because like the young Lions they are still putting in their time and learning how to do work. Cowboys had mastered this lesson in a previous era but they got ahead of themselves yesterday trying to run too fast before learning how to walk again. Truly a massive all-time epic fail! Just like the Cowboys, the Texans were dying to give us the game with their sophomoric penalties, truly unbelievable because we should have been blown out! This year we have been given a pass because with a -2 turnover margin we beat the Colts on the road, this is the second time in six years we have accomplished this black swan type event. After seeing the Texans game, it is as clear as day that the luck of the Irish was with us.
The eyeball test tells you that the current Steelers team like many others are currently marginal at best but this can change overnight. Yesterday, we almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat BUT in the end we are living on borrowed time. It is often darkest before the dawn and we need to quickly rise like a phoenix out of the ashes.
Don't sleep on the Titans or it's time to go fishing and then start perusing Seton's draft intelligence. Please, let's not make the Super Bowl Curse a self-fulfilling prophecy as history is already littered with their corpses.
Step up or step off! Steeler Nation is in no mood for a Remember the Titans sequel:)