Another good talker, changed the headline but nothing else. My only commentary is making sure to point out "Neal" is not the same as "Neil," and for those who wonder why I get upset when the spellings are confused, I tell them to watch Super Bowl XXX. And interestingly, Kris Brown would rank very highly on my list as well. I tried to put a volleyball through the TV I watched that game on in 2001. It was my roommates' first experience with me during a Steelers game. Needless to say, I was dubbed "Wilson" for a little while. - nc
This is meant to be a fun post part two. There is no offense meant by it. It is my hope that all of the players that made this list are happy and healthy and enjoying their successful lives…somewhere other than Pittsburgh. If you are easily offended by someone else’s view of Steelers history or a snide remark cast at somebody that once wore black and gold please turn away now…The post is inspired by reports of Limas Sweed attempting a comeback with the Cincinnati Bengals and an array of other NFL teams hoping to cash in on his tremendous potential. You see to me, Limas is a player that I just never saw anything in other than potential and he almost always made me angry when he was on the field. Had I been Coach he would have been cut sooner. So here is my list of other players I would have cut sooner. Least Favorite Steelers…Please add your non favorites or feel free to defend these guys listed. And like the Steelers under Kent Graham, no offense. It’s all opinion anyway!
· Neil O’Donnell; I love big game players and Neil is my least favorite Steeler of all time. In my opinion he was a decent enough QB but he lacked intestinal fortitude. That is something that is a HUGE asset if you have it and a HUGE detriment if you don’t. Neil always seemed to complete 75% of his passes during the regular season and then become a deer in the headlights during post season. The resume…1992 O’Donnell (after beating out Bubby Brister…one of my favorite Steelers…for the starting QB spot) has home field throughout the playoffs thanks to Bubby winning 2 of the seasons last 3 for an injured O’Donnell. After a bye he puts up 7 points against Buffalo in a 24-7 home loss to the Bills. He doesn’t even attempt to throw one pass into the end zone in that game. 1993 O’Donnell again ousted in round 1 of the wild card round albeit to Joe Montana at KC. 1994…The AFCCG debacle at 3 Rivers. Only 13 points by the offense in a home Championship game against a HUGE underdog despite throwing for 349? The pass to Barry Foster at the 1 yard line on 4th and goal from the 3 that fell incomplete? Just like the first 3 downs at goal to go. And then XXX in 1995/1996. 3 picks. 2 of them with no Steeler receiver within 10 yards. Those that argue that O’Donnell’s receivers ran the wrong route…twice…can have that argument. It works during the regular season but not deep in the post season. My rule; In the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl with under 6 minutes to go, you better damn well know which way your receiver is cutting BEFORE you throw the ball. As stated lack of intestinal fortitude is a HUGE detriment.
· Cliff Stoudt; Cliff had the misfortune of following Terry Bradshaw. He sat on the bench and held a clip board charting plays in Bradshaw’s last couple seasons. This was good enough for a couple Super Bowl rings. When Bradshaw called an audible on the front office and went to the back woods of Louisiana for a botched elbow surgery, Stoudt became the starting QB. The Steelers defense in 1983 was stifling. The Steelers surged to a 9-2 record on the backs of the Steel Curtain’s last ride. Opposing offensive coordinators looking to avoid the Steel Heat went ultra conservative. They realized a punt on 4th down was better than a sack fumble or interception on 3rd down. As the games became close and the Steelers needed their QB to win games a losing streak entailed. Cliff Stoudt became a turn over machine. The Steelers coronation to the AFC Championship suddenly became rocky. The Steelers were staring at 9-5 and missing the playoffs. Bradshaw returned one last time, fittingly in Flushing. He showed the Steeler Nation the offense was not impotent just manned by the wrong conductor. Bradshaw effortlessly drove the Steelers down the field twice for TDs before leaving forever, grimacing and holding his elbow but elevating the Steelers into the playoffs. There, Stoudt hit Wayne Capers on a first series bomb setting up a 3-0 Steelers lead. The Raiders won 38-10. Stoudt was forever castigated as third rate. Cliff the Stiff and Stiff Drought would be his monikers. In an epilogue to his career Stoudt became a QB in the USFL and returned to Pittsburgh as a Birmingham Stallion. 50,000 crazed Steeler fans jammed into Three Rivers Stadium and pelted Cliff with snowballs for 4 quarters of a Stallion win. Some of them with better arms than Cliff.
· Kris Brown; Kris-Miss. Chrissie Brown. All those yards against Houston one Sunday and still a loss. All those missed field goals week in and week out when it mattered most. Especially at Heinz Field. I cringed every time they sent him on the field…kind of like Suisham. I didn’t like the guy we got after Brown either. But that disaster named Peterson led us to Jeff Reed. We were blessed with Gary Anderson for a decade. Jeff Reed was also a blessing we found in a tryout until his success got the better of him. I wonder if Skippy has sobered up and lost some weight. We could use him.
· DeWayne Washington; The free agent DB we got from the Vikings actually performed OK his first couple years. But later in his career as a starter he was outclassed by every receiver. After being regularly burned deep for several years Washington got near enough to Titan kicker Joe Nedney that Nedney was able to fake a running into the kicker penalty after an OT playoff miss. That Washington playoff gaffe allowed Nedney to kick from 5 yards closer and put the nail in the Steelers and Tommy Maddox heroic 2002 season.
· Harvey Clayton; Clayton was an undersized DB with the Steelers in the mid 80s during the dark ages after the 70s Title Run and before Cowher Power. It wasn’t his fault that he was so over matched. It was the front offices fault for not finding a better DB…What he lacked in size he made up for in slow footedness. His nickname was "Toast"
· Limas Sweed; I have to put Limas on this list because of all the grief I have taken on the BTSC pages for my lack of "Limas Love." I never disliked Limas enough to put him on a list until I was chastised (IMO unfairly) for "defaming" a guy who played for the beloved Steelers and dropped crucial passes in 2 playoff games. IMO, the Steelers live and die by the draft. I’m not a NCAA regular. When the Steelers drafted Limas Sweed I didn’t know who he was. I never saw him do anything at Latrobe and yet people seemed to be in love with his size, speed and soft hands….which I could understand at first. At a Los Angeles Lakers game at Staples Center one evening, my friend Michael Bean sang the praises of fellow Texans Limas Sweed and Tony Hills. MB is usually pretty spot on and I was rooting for both of them. Once the season started and he stopped feeling home sick Sweed caught 6 passes. In the biggest of playoff games on the biggest of stages Sweed dropped a sure TD against San Diego. Watch the tape. Then, the next week in the AFCCG with other WRs on the roster and deserving of playing time, the Steelers coaches had Sweed in the game again. He was running free in the Baltimore secondary again. Ben put the ball right in his hands again. Sweed dropped the ball…again. As he lay on the field agonizing over a dropped pass the Steelers were penalized. Had Flacco not thrown that pick to Troy late in the 4th quarter and instead led the Ravens to victory (like he did twice since 2008) Sweed would have been Bill Buckner & Neil O’Donnell all rolled into one. He dropped a pass during the regular season that would have beaten Cincinnati and put Pittsburgh in the playoffs in his second season just to convince the coaches to play another deserving athlete. Just because you are big and fast and a second round pick doesn’t mean you can play in the NFL. No matter how "good a kid" someone is and no matter how hard they try, at some point you have to let another deserving athlete have a chance to play….like a 6th round pick named Antonio. On a team where draft picks are the heart beat of the franchise Sweed was a wasted 2nd round pick.
· Aaron Jones; The only thing worse than a second round bust is a first round bust. This D lineman was a definite first round bust. He had a sack once in a playoff game and we all joked that he must have still been coming from the play before.
· Huey Richardson; Front Office…How could you whiff so horribly in round 1? I don’t think he made it out of Latrobe? At least Limas Sweed and Aaron Jones sniffed the field.
· Shaun Suisham; All right. So I don’t like kickers and I don’t like offensive coordinators. Sue me. I am happy to be wrong about this guy so far. As I stated before the 2011 season "Shaun Suisham will cost the Steelers a game in 2011 and I hope it is not in the playoffs." I was wrong in 2011 but 2012 is a new year.
· Gene Mingo; I didn’t really get to see Mingo play for the Steelers. I am too young. But I remember hating the kicking combo of Gerela/Walden growing up. I was told the tale of the Steelers kicker who struggled with extra points as opposed to our "extra point kicker" who struggles with field goals. JW 900 of the Crew thought Mingo’s first name was "Effing" until he was 10 years old because every time Mingo trotted out onto the field his dear old dad screamed "Effing Mingo!"
· Bruce Arians; He was a Cleveland Brown’s OC that somehow could not figure out how to run clock with a 24-7 lead late in the 3rd quarter of a playoff game. Looking to throw deep on every down Arians left too much time on the clock for journeyman Tommy Maddox who rallied the Steelers to a 36-33 win. I will never forget Chris Fu’amatu Ma’afala taking it in for a TD on his 4th and 3 as opposed to O’Donnell and his 4th and 3. As I stated…intestinal fortitude is a HUGE asset. Hired at Pittsburgh as a WR coach he ascended to OC through attrition. Arians then proceeded to produce game plan after game plan of hazy offensive scheming with no rhyme or reason or adjustments. Starting with the 2nd and 3rd down calls against Jacksonville in the 2007 playoff game continuing with hand-offs to Hines Ward at the goal line on 4th and short and ending with the lack of a potent red zone offense for all his years at Pittsburgh, Arians career at Pittsburgh rode Ben Roethlisberger’s coattails. He never seemed to make Ben or those around him better like some of the coaches on my favorite Steelers coaches list.
· Kevin Gilbride; I always liked Ron Erhardt and was disappointed to see Cowher let him go. Before Arians, Gilbride earned my wrath weekly. When fellow coach Buddy Ryan punched him on the sideline during a game I could totally understand Buddy’s frustration.