I went to my first Steelers game in the 1950s. I attended dozens of games during the championship runs of the 70s. I left Pittsburgh and moved to Florida where I became a Miami U fan, and went to many of their games during the championship seasons of the 80s. I've seen more top-notch football than most people get a chance to. I've been very fortunate.
Before yesterday's game ( it's Monday here in Asia ) I was as excited as I've ever been about a football game. I felt like a kid again, but not a very optimistic kid. The Steelers did so much this year just to get to the Super Bowl, I believed this game was almost out of reach. I felt that it would be a near miracle if they pulled it off. I never doubt this team, and they had already exceeded expectations and come so far to get there.... but...
Unlike a lot of you I'm not depressed, not upset, not drinking ( I've got to work today ), but thankful that I've always been and always will be a fan of the greatest NFL team.I want to thank the Rooney family, Mike Tomlin, and the players for giving us more than we expected this year.
Remember pre-season, when the Steelers were ranked as low as 17th or 18th in the league, even though nearly the entire squad was returning, and, along with some very promising coaching hires, were offering us hope? Remember all those so-called "pundits" who said the Black & Gold would finish third behind the Ravens & Bengals? We're smiling now, aren't we?
It was somewhat disheartening to see all those mock drafts back in September and October that had the Steelers picking 12th. Hasn't it been fun reading them over the past few weeks and seeing the team at 32? Well... even 31 is damn good, isn't it?
Thank you Kevin Colbert for what you've done in the past, and for what we're expecting this year. And thanks to all the scouts whose names most of us don't know: Hughes, Hunt, Nunn, McNorton, Bruener, and the rest of you.
I wrote this in a post last year about late round draft picks:
I would love to see Pittsburgh draft Maurkice Pouncey. I've been a Steeler fan since before Ray Mansfield (& Webster & Dawson) played, and always admired the FO's ability to find the best centers in the game. I think Pouncey would be a return to stardom at the center position.
Thank you Maurkice !!
I watched Central Michigan twice last year, and was pretty happy when I saw that Antonio Brown was drafted. I didn't know much about Sanders, but wow... what a great couple of rookies! Thanks guys, for playing so well and not making many typical rookie mistakes.
If Worilds develops the way the other outside linebackers have developed, and if Sylvester improves and becomes a starter, as many of us think he will, this could be one of the Steelers' best drafts ever.
Thank you Larry Foote for coming back and accepting your role, never complaining about not starting, and for being an example of what "team" is all about.
Thank you James Farrior, for being a team leader and for playing lights out this year after many wrote you off last year as past your prime.
Remember when they said the Steelers were finished when Big Ben was suspended? It was assumed that if a team has to play a quarter of its season without their starting quarterback that they should be looking forward to the following year. Well, thanks Ben for playing well throughout the year. You may not be one of the elite, and even though you weren't at your best in Super Bowl XLV, we don't care that you're not yet a lock for the Hall of Fame. What we care about is hard-nosed Steelers football. You certainly gave us that with a broken nose and a bad ankle and the rest. A lot of us out here are not fans of yours - off the field. But none of us can deny that on the field, even when you throw interceptions and aren't at your best, you may be the most exciting quarterback in the league. And we know you're only 28 and that you will give us many more years of exciting football. Now please.... do everything right off the field and win back those doubters!
Thank you Troy, defensive player of the year ( I would have voted for Harrison ), for being one of the NFL's most exciting players. Get well this summer, and return to your best form. We love you and are looking forward to more years of your unique brand of play.
Thank you Al Everest, for the improvement of the special teams, which we know will improve further next year.
Thank you Jerry Olsavsky, John Mitchell, Ray Horton, Dick LaBeau, and Keith Butler for allowing us to watch the best defense in football.
Thank you Randy Fichtner for making the transition from a receivers coach to a quarterbacks coach. A lot of fans don't know who you are, and they should know you.
Thank you Scottie Montgomery for a great first season in shaping those young receivers into one of the best groups in the NFL. Can you do the same with Limas Sweed next season? A lot of us are still hoping & wishing he makes it and returns to his college form... so we're counting on you. And if you can't do it with Limas, how about Tyler Grisham?
Thank you Kirby Wilson for a great fourth season in shaping those young runners. Can you do the same with Jonathan Dwyer and Frank Summers next season? A lot of us are hoping they become what they were in college... and counting on you.
A lot of fans are talking about how old the Steelers are, but the offense is moderately young. With ( hopefully ) a couple offensive line picks in the 2011 draft, the squad will get younger. As to the defense, well, yeah, some of them are getting up there, but there's hope. Crezdon Butler, Keenan Lewis, Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith ( I also wrote about him in my Late Rounds post last year ), and Stevenson Sylvester... we're expecting the best. And let's not forget that Ra'Shon Harris is out there too.
Thank you James Daniel for teaching our tight ends how to block, and thank you David Johnson for giving us more than we have a right to expect out of a 7th round draft pick many thought would have been dropped in his first training camp.
Thanks to Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky for giving us all you've got, and special thanks to Flozell, Suisham & Kapinos for helping out a team in need.
Thank you too, Ziggy. You've made it!
Thank you to the linebackers; you're the best group in the NFL, and we love you. Even you Harrison, with all your "retirement" theatrics. I think maybe you finally got it, and know what the league expects now. No, it's not fair to turn the game into a sport that needs pillows on the field, but you're learning to adapt, and we know you'll continue to be the best at what you do.
Thank you Mr. Malor for giving us some fodder for conversation, and for not being too obnoxious during the Super Bowl.
Thanks Michael Bean for making this site one of the best sports blogs, and to maryrose for all your interesting historical articles. Also, thanks to momma and the rest of the contributing authors here who provide us with great analyses and other stuff to keep us going all year long.
Thank you to seton hall and steelers, WVPiratesfan, the kid in high school, and the rest of you who keep this site going. ( Sorry I don't contribute more... but... this site does well without me! )
Thank you Hines for your smile!
Oh yeah... almost forgot... a special thanks to Issac Redman!
Bring on the draft !!