I love Steelers football more than almost anything. Watching their games is like therapy for me. I can forget about my personal problems and stressors for 3-4 hours and just live vicariously through my beloved team. After the game is done, then the bills, baby mama drama, work pressures, etc. come back. But for those 3-4 hours, one day a week, nothing else matters.
There is nothing else that rivals the effectiveness of Steelers football in terms of its therapeutic benefits. However, when the Steelers are not available for a session, I have basketball. I've been an avid basketball fan since the early 90's. The formative years of my basketball fandom revolved around the likes of MJ, Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, etc. In 1996, a scrappy, score first point guard was drafted number one overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. I am of course referring to Allen Iverson.
Allen Iverson was effective immediately, even crossing up His Airness (MJ) in a highlight that still makes its way to Sports Center. AI always commanded the respect of his peers, put up huge numbers, and could always will his (usually overmatched) 76ers into the playoffs. Heck, 5 years into his professional career Iverson was able to will his team into the NBA finals. That year his squad included the likes of Big Bird from Sesame Street, your grandmother, 3 All-Stars from the Little Sisters of the Poor, 2 guys that they found in the parking lot, and the cotton candy vendor.
This has always been the curious case of AI. He never seemed to have a good supporting cast. His teams only went as far as he could take them, which was usually very far. Logic would say: "man, if this guy just had one other good player, his team would be unstoppable." Well, in 2006-07 he was traded to Denver to pair with Carmelo Anthony. The results were disastrous.
These are my takeaways from this: Allen Iverson's teams were most successful when he alone was the offense. When he had to share playmaking duties with the likes of JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony, his team was not nearly as effective. Perhaps, AI wasn't alone on the Sixers due to mismanagement or misfortune. Perhaps this was a necessary, intelligent design. Perhaps sharing a spotlight/playmaking/decsion-making role handicapped AI. Perhaps AI is Ben Roethlisberger's basketball counterpart?
Disregarding the 2006 Super Bowl season (when Ben rode the coat-tails of some Steeler-greats), the Steelers have been most effective when Ben operated as THE offense.
2008: The defense was astounding, but how did they generate points? It was Ben being Ben. Ben doing Ben things. Ben operating the no-huddle as only Ben does.
2010: How did the Steelers make the Super Bowl? Ben did a lot of Ben things, and essentially, was the offense. You'd be hard pressed to convince me that the Steelers were the best team in the AFC that year. But Ben had the strongest will out of everyone.
Asking Ben to share playmaking duties in a run-first scheme, or get-the-ball-out-of-your-hands-now scheme handicaps what he is as a player, much like asking Iverson to share. Maybe since we have Ben, we need to pull a 76er and go all in with Ben. This was very obviously Bruce Arians philosophy, and may be Todd Haley's some day too. I don't think that there is any way to change who the man is as a player. He is an improvising daredevil that creates opportunities for himself.
That sounds a lot like AI to me. There was only one way to manage AI as a player, and that was get out of his way. We should do the same with Ben.
TO THE 40 OZ.!!!!
1) It is so gosh darn nice to get a mother trucking win!!!
2) Sadly, it was a win over a sloppy Jets team with a rookie quarterback.
3) We finally got a turnover (2)!
4) Let's be honest, those turnovers were REALLY easy to get
5) Polamalu's hit on Stephen Hill was LEGEN... wait for it ...DARY
6) Antonio Brown is going crazy. Him turning that WR screen on 3rd and long into a first down was one of my favorite plays of the year.
7) They finally hit a play action pass for a big gainer, and without a run game. I don't think my heart could take Ben over throwing Emmanuel Sanders on a deep ball again. I was so happy, I flipped my darn self when he scored.
8) That being said, I hope we can get some more out of Le'Veon Bell on a consistent basis. I like his jump cuts and tenacity. Let's get something out of it pleeeeaaase.
9) The game changed when we started jamming the Jets receivers. Not letting them get free releases threw off timing, and gave the pass rushers an extra second to get push.
10) Shaun Suisham is kicking like the short-range GOAT.
11) Ravens week, Ravens week, Ravens week! Ravens WEEK! RAVENS WEEK!!!! Ravens weak? Ravens weak. (such a fun day of football, twice a year)
12) When will we see Markus Wheaton again? Out cuz of pinky surgery? Ok bro.
13) How much longer until Kelvin Beachum takes some snaps at DB? All jokes aside, he did pretty well at LT and I'm amazed by his versatility. Not bad for a once long shot to make the roster.
14) When did the coaches decide that Felix "The Cat" Jones was going to get more snaps than Jonathan Dwyer? The preseason? Why, dear coaches, why?
15) Vince Williams looked...better. That is a huge compliment coming from me. My opinion of his play was extremely low before last week. Hopefully he continues to improve.
16) Ziggy Hood generated a couple sacks because of his effort, but I would prefer him to stay on the bench. I think the only reason he saw so many snaps was because of the injury to The Beard. I feel a lot more comfortable when Kiesel and Heyward line up at ends.
17) Is Ray Rice still a threat? The Ravens running numbers are even worse than the Steelers. Is this a fluke or is Ray not the same guy?
18) The Ravens miss Anquan Boldin more than they will ever admit. The guy is seriously one of the most underrated players around, always has been. I respect him and his game and hope some day he gets some recognition.
19) If the Steelers can eek out a win this Sunday, they will have the same number of losses as the Ravens. Not bad right? Do you really think the Browns or Bengals are running away with this division? I would say possibly the Bengals, but I have little to no faith in Andy Dalton. Point being, things looked a lot bleaker before last week's win.
20) I checked with the commissioner, it is allowed for a non-Heath Miller TE to catch a ball. However, they must be capable of doing so. That is where the issue seems to lie.
21) I'm going to miss David Johnson. I am in a small minority, I know.
22) I recall seeing Jarvis Jones loop around Lamarr Woodley on an inside cross blitz last week. It made me happy. I think humanity as a whole will be more successful if we see this look more often in passing situations.
23) I traveled to the bayou and met with a medicine man who claims to have put a voodoo hex on Ike Taylor, making him incapable of catching a pass. I asked him to remove the hex. Hopefully, he did.
25) The 2013 Steelers version of running the football is a WR screen.
26) Will Lawrence Timmons start to make more game changing plays as Vince Williams improves? I think this will happen because Williams will be able to assume more responsibilities, freeing Timmons up to run around and create havoc.
27) Is it possible that the Steelers started slow because the Pirates were very good? Of course I don't believe in curses or anything that would make this more than a coincidence, but it is weird to think about right? Steelers=Always good, Pirates=Always bad. Now the Pirates decide to make the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, and the Steelers start with their worst record in over 4 decades. Strange stuff.
28) Is Felix Jones really the best option at KR? I know it's a different skill-set than PR, but I think the Steelers can be more explosive in this area.
29) There was a time not long ago that the AFC North was among the strongest divisions and the NFC West couldn't even produce a team with a winning record. Parity, am I right?
30) Bill Russell, he of 11 rings, was arrested with a gun at an airport. What is going on here? The man is a giant (6'9"), a sports legend, and he's 79. And it's not like he had a rifle or something you'd go hunting with. He had a .38 cal revolver. Has he been watching wild west movies? Am I supposed to believe that Bill Russell is out here merking fools at 79 years old? Is the world so dangerous now that he has to carry a handgun? Should I get a handgun? I'm going to get a handgun.
31) Zoltan (makes me think of Dude, Where's My Car?) Mesko? Why him over Drew Butler? I'm certainly not a punting expert, but New England was pretty quick to let him go.
32) What's the book on Michael Palmer? Are we going to see more of him on offense or did they sign Richard Gordon to take those snaps?
33) I'm confident we will see Antonio Brown hit the Bennie Biggle Wiggle on Sunday. [Bennie Biggle Wiggle is that little TD dance he always does. It's some hood Miami ish]
34) I'm less confident that Jarvis Jones will record his first sack, but I can't wait til it happens.
35) Man that Levi Brown era! Am I right?
36) Who is the fastest Steeler currently?
37) Is Curtis Brown destined to be Chidi Iwuoma, or does he ever take that step forward and get some meaningful defensive snaps?
38) I was thrilled with the trickeration against the Jets. Generally, I like when quarterbacks do the passing, but I embrace the spirit of creativity. One of the main things that endeared Whisenhunt to me was his use of gadget plays. They're fun for the players and fans. And, if nothing else, it's something else a defense has to prepare for.
39) Anyone else concerned that Torrey Smith might be able to get behind the coverage, especially considering Stephen Hill did?
40) Ravens week is always a fun one, but it loses some flare sans Hines and Ray.