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The Night Before Cincy: A Visit from Mike Tomlin

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore) And assurances to all in Steeler Nation whether they be in my or other generation. Despite what my past written words may have told, I'm still loyal and faithful to our Black n Gold.

Jared Wickerham

'Twas the night before Cincy, when all through the Nation

Fans were quite nervous with much trepidation.

The Terrible Towels were hung by the flat screen with care

In hopes that a victory soon would show there.

The bandwagoners were asleep all snug in their beds,

While visions of Lombardis danced in their heads;

But I a skeptic, despite my Steelers knit cap

Feared my beloved team faced a long winter's nap.

When there arose such a noise outside on my lawn,

I sprang from my couch, it was long before dawn.

Away to my back door I flew like Mike Wallace

Sure I would find the drunk or the lawless.

Where it should be dark with some grass, a thicket of trees

I beheld a vision that weakened my knees.

For there in miniature and lit up was Heinz Field;

Tiny Steelers in action, the crowd's cheers loudly pealed.

But aside me full sized, gazing with reproach,

Stood a peeved Mike Tomlin, the Steelers' head coach.

More rapid than eagles his quotations they came,

And he spoke them right to me, whispered not, but proclaimed:

"We don't live in our fears, we live in our hopes"

His eyes into mine, his gaze bound me like ropes.

"It's important we get back on that side of the ledger"

I knew he meant a skeptic is worse than a hedger.

I assured him my faith was not weakened nor lost

But watching them lose came with such a high cost.

"From my perspective, you learn more in failure...

He said with the saltiness of a sailor,

"...than you do in success." he went on without rancor,

His words dispelled my doubts, his conviction my anchor.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

"We're going to be thoughtfully non-rhythmic here"

When about the running game I expressed my fear.

And as to the injured, whose turn to play must pass,

He said: "as head coach I've always got 11 on the grass".

We spoke of Haley and when his offense will awake;

He proclaimed "Sooner or later the dam will break".

Then laying a finger aside of his nose

He shrunk from my side; the image of Heinz arose;

He strode to the sidelines, to his team gave a whistle

And to my vision this night he signaled dismissal.

Alone in my yard, my little dog at my feet

This vision has left me with these words to repeat.

They are simple words to say, I'm sure yinz all know: