In an effort to not write about certain controversial topics but still scratch my itch of making people angry, I’m going to share some very unpopular opinions I have about the Steelers and the game of football.
Sometimes, players hold out of training camp, deal with it
If I had a dime for every time Steelers fans got angry about a player holding out of training camp, I would have a lot of dimes. I can see people getting upset over the regular season. I mean, who wants to deal with a superstar not playing in games that could affect the chances of your team winning? But when it comes to training camp, I just don’t get the vitriol. Sure, they’re quitting on their team, or whatever, but their team will still welcome them back with open arms once they decide to end their holdout. Why? Because they’re really, really good, that’s why. We need to stop holding years-long grudges over a holdout which would have been forgotten had it happened in the 1970s. How do I know that? Because Jack Lambert held out of camp way back when. Do you hold a grudge against him? You do? Fine, I’ll let him know.
Finally, I know what you’re going to say: “If I did that at my job, I wouldn’t have a job.” What can I say? Learn how to get after the quarterback at an elite level.
If players are expected to be at VOLUNTARY OTAs (Organized Team Activities), maybe they shouldn’t be VOLUNTARY
If there’s one thing that irritates me more than fans getting angry over a player holding out of camp, it’s fans getting angry over a player not showing up for OTAs. But I don’t blame the fans for this one. I blame the coaches, players who do show up, and the stupid system which makes coaches and teammates talk in a passive-aggressive manner when discussing a player that is not at OTAs.
“I wish he was here, but he’s not. I can only concern myself with the players that are here.”
If you want your players/teammates to show up to OTAs, make it a mandatory part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. While you’re at it, make it mandatory for regular office workers to show up for their boss’s after work hours birthday party. I’m tired of not knowing what to do in this situation. If I go, I’m a kiss-ass. If I don’t go, my amount of flair is called into question every time I see my boss afterwards.
You actually can win championships with players like Antonio Brown
I realize this is impossible to prove because it hasn’t happened yet during Brown’s career. It certainly didn’t happen during his nine-year stint in Pittsburgh. However, you’re always going to have a hard time convincing me that the reason the Steelers didn’t win a title during Brown’s tenure in Pittsburgh—a tenure which included the greatest six-year run for a wide-receiver in the history of the NFL—was because of Brown.
How many times did he bail them out of jams at the ends of games? How many times did he put the entire team on his back and carry it to victory? Too numerous to list on both counts. Did Brown throw hissy-fits if he wasn’t the one to bail the Steelers out of games and/or put them them on his back and carry them to victory? Yes on both counts. But it doesn’t mean they didn’t win a title because of him. It’s silly. Regardless of how much of a pill he was in the locker room, you give me 53 players like Antonio Brown, I can guarantee you’ll win a title. You give me 53 players with the talent and the heart of Vince Papale, you’ll get 53 Hollywood scripts about a player who overcame perseverance to make it in the NFL.
But unless the director uses poetic license while making the movie, probably not a title.
Mike Tomlin won a championship with his own players
That’s right, I said it. I’m always going to say it. To say otherwise is, well, just silly. If you want to continue to use the argument against Tomlin—that he won Super Bowl XLIII with Bill Cowher’s players—I’m going to start using the argument that Bill Cowher won his only title with someone else’s players. Like who? Jerome Bettis (trade), James Farrior (free agent pickup), Charlie Batch (free agent pickup) and Chris Gardocki (free agent pickup). Furthermore, Cowher came to town in 1992 with a cupboard that he quickly admitted was quite full. That’s right, he had Dermontti Dawson, Neil O’Donnell, Barry Foster, Rod Woodson, Merril Hoge, John Jackson, Ernie Mills, Greg Lloyd and a host of others just waiting for him as he stepped into his very first head-coaching job some 28 years ago. Did he build on that? Sure, but that’s what good head coaches do.
It’s time to forgive Neil O’Donnell for his role in the Super Bowl XXX loss to the Cowboys
How many different quarterbacks have led the Steelers to a championship game in their near 90-year history? Three, and O’Donnell was one of them. Could O’Donnell have done a better job in the one he led Pittsburgh to in 1995? Yes, but give the guy a break. The Steelers have won two Super Bowls since then. I don’t know if you realize this, but they have six in all.
If Bills fans, who never went on to experience a Super Bowl victory, can forgive kicker Scott Norwood for “wide-right,” you can forgive Neil O’Donnell. Otherwise, you’re just mean.
You want a guarantee that you’ll get a chance to view every Steelers game? Move to Pittsburgh
Every year, I, a life-long Pittsburgher, have to listen to Steelers fans who’ve never even been to the city complain about a game they can’t watch because, for example, it’s A REGIONAL BROADCAST! What did you expect, the NFL would know you became a big fan of the Steelers while living in Seattle way back in 1997 and still follow them to this day in your current home of London, England? Do you want the NFL to make all Steelers games national broadcasts? Do you want them to cater to your Seattle/London/Alaska/Hawaii/Philadelphia time-zone?
If you’re a Steelers fan who doesn’t get to see many games because you live in some city like Cincinnati, tell your mayor to see about getting an NFL team.
Super Bowl eras are just plain hard to repeat
You want to know why the Steelers only won five playoff games in the 2010s? I’ll tell you why—the NFL is a hard-knock life, that’s why. Go examine NFL history. How many teams who went to multiple Super Bowls in a short period of time like Pittsburgh did between 2005-2010 (three times in six years) did something similar right afterwards? You won’t find many, I can tell you that much.
There were the Patriots...and that’s about it.
Hopefully, the Steelers will move training camp to Pittsburgh permanently
Yeah, I said it. It just makes sense logistically for the Steelers to move training camp to Pittsburgh. Heinz Field or the South Side facilities, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll tell you one thing, it’ll be darn convenient for me to attend each and every year. Yeah, I know Latrobe benefits greatly from the financial boom the Steelers and their fans provide each summer.
Oh well, want the boom to continue? Get your own team!
Jack Ham is totally underrated, but that’s because of Jack Lambert
You know how you love to say Jack Ham is grossly underrated when it comes to all-time Steelers greats/NFL outside linebackers? I believe that’s because Jack Lambert didn’t have front teeth and liked to pump his legs before a play. Had the fans distributed their love for their ‘70s linebackers more evenly, Ham would be getting more kudos today.
Thank you for your time. I feel so much better now.