“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” So might as well the denizens of Steeler Nation cried after Sunday’s Debacle in Baltimore at the hands of the hated Ravens. The Steelers were flat, they were complacent, they’re fat cats, high rollers, devoid of intensity. They think the remainder of the AFC North should roll over and “crown their asses.” So say Yinzers far and wide, in Pittsburgh, coast to coast, and worldwide.
Okay; let’s get a grip, Steeler brethren. Yes, the Black & Gold stunk up the joint yesterday. The line blocked at times as though they were the midget wrestlers, Fuzzy Cupid and Hi Lo Lo. Ben lofted balls that were reminiscent of Ed Brown in Yankee Stadium in the December ’63 tilt that cost the Steelers their first division title. The defensive stalwarts generally failed to make plays. Is such a performance unique, or does it harken to a familiar refrain? Let’s have a look at some other Chicken Little performances by our heroes:
*September 29, 1974: After filling the air with footballs, and rolling up 65 points, during their first two outings, the Steelers, with Joe Gilliam at the helm, put up a goose-egg, roll a gutter ball, against the Oakland Raiders. Yes, the Oakland Raiders, every bit as hated, actually moreso, during the 1970s, as are the Baltimore Ravens of the present era. Jefferson Street Joe completed hit on only 9 of 33 passes in that game, hoisting a trio of balls to the boys in Silver & Black. The Steelers hardly looked the part of Super Bowl contenders, losing 17-0 on their home turf. The Sky was Falling!
*September 28, 1975: “Miami’s got the Oranges,” the saying went, “but Buffalo’s got The Juice!” And O.J. Simpson ran over, around and through the Steelers defense for 227 yards during the Steelers home opener. Connelsville’s Jim Braxton added 80 more, and the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers, fresh off of a 37-0 road victory in San Diego the previous week, found themselves on the short end of a 30-21 score. The Sky was Falling!
*October 23, 1978: The undefeated Steelers fully expected to extend their record to 8-0 in a Monday night tilt against the Oilers, but Earl Campbell had other ideas. He ran for three scores, and the Oilers registered a 24-17 victory at Three Rivers Stadium. The Sky wasn’t exactly Falling after his one, but the night was sufficiently disappointing for Steeler fans.
*October 14, 1979: The 5-1 Steelers turned the ball over nine times against the winless Bengals, losing 34-10 at Riverfront Stadium. Chuck Noll suggested that the Steelers were more worried about the Pirates World Series matchup than they were about their own game. If the Sky wasn’t falling after this game, it certainly was later that same season, when Terry Bradshaw threw five interceptions during a 35-7 loss at San Diego.
*November 28, 2005: The Steelers were thoroughly dominated in a Monday Night affair in Indy, 26-7, during Ben Roethlisberger’s return from a 3-week hiatus due to injury. The passing-proficient Colts even registered a hundred-yard rusher against the Steelers as Edgerrin James ran for a buck-twenty-four. The Sky was opening up, and then was decidedly falling the following Sunday when the Steelers dropped a 38-31 decision at home to the Cincinnati Bengals, leaving them with a record of 7-5 and losing their tentative grasp on a playoff spot.
*September 21, 2008: Ben Roethlisberger was sacked nine times and the Steelers failed to pierce the endzone, falling 15-6 to the Iggles at Lincoln Financial. The offensive line was in disarray. The Sky was definitely falling!
The obvious commonality of all of the debacles cited here, and make no mistake, all of these games were Ug-Lee, is that the Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl in all six seasons.
So, dear friends, and Chicken Littles among you, worry not….or at least not so much. There’s plenty of season left to be played. There are plenty of opportunities for Steeler atonement. Pittsburgh’s Going to the Super Bowl.