"...Like soldiers in the winter's night with a vow to defend/no retreat, baby, no surrender" - Bruce Springsteen
Steel Curtain Rising Tweeted out, as part of the tease headline of this article, "no surrender, no retreat."
Naturally, that puts Springsteen's "No Surrender" in my head. It's an unfortunate song to have playing this time of the year - its upbeat rhythm gives way to desolate lyrics. It's ultimately an awesome song, but its end game is more of breaking away and heading out alone.
That's pretty much the Steelers' only choice at this point in the season. With mathematically probabilities crunched by NASA engineers to determine their postseason likelihood, the Steelers really don't have anything to play for.
Except for everything, that is.
Leadership is the act of getting others to follow one's example. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, for all his faults, and the slings and arrows that usually accompany him, must have had this song blaring as he took the field during pregame intros. Tribune-Review columnist Dejan Kovacevic noted exactly what I was thinking when I saw him run out, sweatpants on, raving like a madman.
Ben is last man introduced with offense and looks off-the-charts pumped as he races through teammates. Don’t tell him it’s meaningless.— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) December 16, 2013
Roethlisberger was out there for his teammates, for his franchise and for himself. He went out, completed 80 percent of his passes (second time in his career and first since his rookie season he completed 80 percent on 25 or more throws). Outside a poor decision on an interception in the second half, Roethlisberger played flawlessly. While his counterpart, Andy Dalton, struggled with the wind. Roethlisberger's passes were tight and on target. He threw a few in the second half that caught his targets more than those receivers caught his passes.
He was on fire. Odds are good he didn't care about draft positioning; he's not paid to worry about those things.
He's paid, in part, to lead the team. As this team winds down its 2013 season, remote possibility of qualifying for the postseason still alive somehow, the one thing we can take comfort in is the fact the younger players of this team are seeing the value of leadership on the field.
A vow to defend. No retreat, no surrender.
That will have more value next season than any draft pick will. Without that mindset, any player, and therefore, any team, is less.
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