My critique of the Steelers-Eagles game is limited. Admittedly, i wasn’t able for focus on the game as much as i would have liked to particularly in the critical opening minutes of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game. I was quite preoccupied trying to adjust the color tone, contrast, and mode of my TV monitor. Almost everything that used to be black or white seemed to be pink. Until i sort of figured out what was going on, then i settled into the pink thing-albeit uncomfortably. Things that never paid attention to, i paid attention to: shoes, gloves, whistles, chin straps, wrist bands, et al. I spent much of the game, scanning the players outfits: “Hey, there’s a guy without any pink on!” Should the referees throw a flag? Should Tomlin challenge? I spent most of NFL Sunday distracted by it. By Monday night’s game though, i sort of began to get used to it, almost overlook it. But pink just doesn’t seem to fit in to the game–yet. It’s a GOOD CAUSE, but i’ll take a nicely placed patch on a players jersey, thank you.
I mean, after the replacement referees, i was looking forward to some regular football without any new adjustments. Well, as i learned yet again, things don’t always turn out the way you want them. Wear a patch, yes. Pink socks??? But it is a good cause, and there’s an easy link if you care to donate, if you are able.
Speaking of replacement referees, midway through the game, i was thinking they weren’t THAT bad, due to the regulars non-calls and bad-calls. And by the end of the NFL weekend, i was ready to have the replacement refs come back–maybe not. [The regulars blew some major calls over the weekend.] But then i got to thinking: why have referees at all?! I remember playing tons of backyard and schoolyard sports growing up, and we never had referees. And one side always seemed to win, somewhat fairly; another side lost. We seemed to work out the controversial plays between us. Heck, with the Big Screen and Multi-angle Replays, let the viewing audience decide with a futurist interactive NFL TV option. P.S. The replacement referees were really that bad! But the regular referees weren’t really that good!
Now back to the Steagles game, that is, Steelers–Eagles. For the come-from-behind last second, again, Steelers, the defensive game ball goes hands-down to Michael Vick, who almost single-handedly kept the Steelers in the game by keeping the Eagles out of the endzone. And i mean single-handedly! Hey, Michael–two hands firmly on the pigskin especially when you about to collide with a defensive lineman twice your size and meaner than a pitbull. Of course, the offensive game ball must go to Rashard Mendenhall without whom the Steelers might be 1-3 now. But, hey, you too Rashard–two hands on the ball. Some of your delightful highlights showed you dangling the ball inviting a turnover. P.S. Just razzin you Rashard. Dangle the ball all you want if you’re going to run like that!
THE THREE OMENS from the game, that cause me concern (not withstanding week 5‘s somewhat poor play and penalties):
ONE. Troy Polamalu caught on camera, on the bench, calf wrapped in ice, laughing with one of his bench buddies. When he finally noticed that the TV camera had caught him, his jovial face turned to distress. Heck, yucking it up with a big lead in the fourth quarter of the game and in the division standings is one thing. But yucking it up in the first half of a game in which your team is playing more than poorly (and at 1-2), and the star safety is injured is quite another. But, from an insider’s point of view, maybe Troy senses something–that he won’t be winning any more Super Bowls with the Steelers, “so why sweat it!” P.S. Check out the Ravens rabid Ray Lewis stalking the sideline. Some teams are playing like they’re DRIVEN to win their divisions, and the Super Bowl. While some are playing like IT WOULD BE NICE to win. At least at this point. Things hopefully will come more and more together for the Steelers as the season goes on.
TWO. Tomlin’s discussion (and ultimate decision) about what to do on third down on the last drive in the final seconds. I think he had enough time to decide what he should do since the drive started at the Steelers own twenty. As i posted before, one of my concerns about Tomlin is his seeming uncertainty about when to send on his kicking team. This seemed to be another example. Even the sportscasters in the booth seemed to gasp when Big Ben and the team came back onto the field on third down. Too many things could have gone wrong for the Steelers, and too few things could go right on that play. Fortunately, a little right thing happened and Redman held onto the ball, and there were no penalties, sack, fumble, etc. Okay, okay, every yard counts when kicking at Heinz Field. But not to kick on third down, in case of a missed snap or whatever, took me by surprise. But then again, i’m just a fan, not a coach. P.S. Tomlin in the postgame interview said the kicking distance is “predetermined before the game, and we don’t take rain [and a wet field] into consideration.” Then just what was all of the considering about on the sideline during the timeout? And Tomlin continued, “We don’t let the game circumstances get us tight in terms of our decision-making ....” Well, from my side of the magic screen, things looked pretty tight. But i wasn’t on the sidelines where it was apparently more relaxed, maybe i was just tight watching.
THREE. As we all awaited the kick from Suisham, the close-up of Big Ben and Mike Tomlin arm-in-arm. It was a “Hallmark Moment” for sure. I could almost hear Mikey purring from the sidelines. It felt warm and fuzzy–and sweaty! But, i prefer to see my head coach, clip board in-hand, preparing for contingencies, and not playing player favorites. But whatever works....
And, a win is a win, no matter how pretty, or not pretty it is. There were more than a few not so pretty wins this weekend by LONG teams. So we’ll take it. 2 AND 2!
P.S. The final cameo. Big Ben pointing his fingers to the sky, thanking the football gods for their intervention, the miracle, come-from-behind drive and modest field goal. Well, keep pointing Big Ben cause from my side of the screen either 1) The Steelers are going to have to play A LOT better as the season progresses–prognosis uncertain (but i hope so); 2) other LONG teams are going to have to start playing A WHOLE LOT worse-prognosis doubtful; 3) the Steelers are going to need miracles A PLENTY-quite possibly. All teams need timely good breaks to have a successful season.
As always, with any critique of the Steelers, i very much hope they prove me very wrong. But no matter how much i try, i just can’t stop rooting for the Steelers. And i still believe they could make another improbable run to the playoffs and Super Bowl. Yep, i’ll wholeheartedly pick them to go all the way! But, at this point, i won’t open my wallet and put any of my hard earned money on it. And that’s the way it is.
On the weather playing a factor in field goal range “We knew where he was.” Well, if anyone can tell me what that means, i’d appreciate it.
“I wasn’t worried about the rain. I was worried about his range.” So what does rain and field conditions (especially at Heinz) have to do with the kicking game or range? Apparently nothing.
On the game-winning drive. “We had the ball last. Such is life.” Hmmm, let’s see how can i apply that to my personal life.
Mikey, gotta luv him. I think i know what he’s trying to say. But, he oftentimes says things in a curious, razzable way.
Now what’ this all got to the with the Titans game. Nothing. As long as the score isn’t close, and the Steelers don’t have to come from behind in the last two minutes. And as long as they win.