There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black-and-gold are definitely ever-evolving, especially this week with the Steelers watching a future Hall of Famer retire, the courting of another and the 20th anniversary of the demolition of a legendary home. Those three happenings make me think of the Pirates’ anthem from 1979 in so many more ways than one.
Here’s a sample...
We are family. Get up everybody and sing. Everyone can see we’re together as we walk on by. And we fly just like birds of a feather, I won’t tell no lie. (All) all of the people around us they say, can they be that close? Just let me state for the record, we’re giving love in a family dose.
Ponder whether they are related here or if I just wanted an excuse to listen to some disco. But anyhow, there is surely a lot to wonder about. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.
Are we on point? Only time will tell.
Three Rivers Stadium is the greatest stadium in Pittsburgh sports history
Heinz Field and PNC Park are gorgeous stadiums that are loaded with features and amenities that highlight a picturesque city skyline as a backdrop. Forbes Field was a quaint and simple ballpark that was classic and modern at the same time. The “Oakland Orchard” inspired the construction of more luxurious stadiums later on. People reminiscing of the park dubbed “The House of Thrills” in 1959, talked about it being a perfect venue. Then there was Three Rivers Stadium. It definitely wasn’t the nicest of the three, in fact it was kind of a dump with little personality in comparison. The ash tray design, the water-stained turf and the dreary concourse are definitely not missed these days. But the fact of the matter remains that what occurred there from 1970 to 2000 was absolute magic. The stadium hosted seven AFC Championship games, two World Series, eight NLCS, a Penguins Stanley Cup celebration and so many great events that led to those championship events. With the 20th anniversary this week of the implosion of the stadium at the confluence of the Ohio, Monongahela and the Allegheny, the memories of that park remind us that you don’t have to be pretty to be extraordinarily beautiful.
It will be a long time until the Steelers play in February again
A lot of Steelers fans are under the impression that when Ben Roethlisberger leaves, and actually probably at this very juncture, that the Steelers are in for our long and arduous rebuild. But last year‘s draft featured three players that the Steelers could build around in the persons of Chase Claypool, Alex Highsmith and Kevin Dotson. The season before the Steelers acquired three players (Devin Bush, Diontae Johnson and Minkah Fitzpatrick) that arrived as a part of a trade in some way, shape or form. Sure the salary cap situation is grave for the time being, but the Steelers haven’t had a losing season season since 2003 and have only seen their record fall below .500 a mere eight times in 50 seasons. The franchise knows how to compete. If the issues of 2020 find a way to get remedied, a few roster tweaks are made and the Steelers improve upon their 12-4 mark, a Super Bowl berth really isn’t that far out of the realm of possibility. As for life after Ben, if the Steelers make the right investment at the quarterback position... there might not be a drought whatsoever the likes of 1980-2004.
Teams don’t need a running quarterback to win in the NFL
We just saw a 43-year old by the name of Tom Brady win the Super Bowl for a seventh time. Mr. Brady has never been accused of being fleet of foot. In fact, Robert Reed who played the famed patriarch on The Brady Bunch, Mr. Brady, might actually be faster than the 5-time Super Bowl MVP and he passed away in 1992. Sure, it’s great to have a mobile quarterback. But Patrick Mahomes mobility just kept him from being murdered against the staunch defense of Tampa Bay. The only quarterbacks that came closest to being considered runners to win the big one in the last ten years would be Russell Wilson and Mahomes. Probably the best running QB in the NFL is Lamar Jackson and he is only 1-3 in the playoffs. The running quarterback is the wave of the future, but it hasn’t equated to many championships so far.
Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement leaves a bigger void than most fans think
Pouncey was a great player for the Steelers since being drafted in the first round by the Steelers in 2010. It could be argued that had the rookie center not been injured in the AFC Championship Game against the Jets. The 9x Pro Bowl selection and twice All-Pro was not at his peak performance in 2020, but a better option was not and is not on the roster. But where the Steelers will definitely feel even more of a loss is as a vocal team leader in the locker room, on the sidelines and on the practice field. Pouncey’s retirement may even signal the close of Ben Roethlisberger’s career before 2021.
The Steelers signing J.J. Watt is a foregone conclusion
This is something that Steeler Nation has been talking about for a long time now and it actually could happen. The eldest Watt brother has asked for and received his release from the franchise that makes your Uncle Louie’s pyramid scheme seem like a sound business model, the Houston Texans. Now No. 99 is free to go wherever he pleases. Everybody is assuming that J.J. will automatically join his brothers in the Steel City. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work that way. Sure the Watt Brothers are very tight, but economics come into play here and Justin James could be offered the kind of coin that the Steelers can’t come up with under the cap. Teams like Cleveland and many others could pony up quite a bit. Now J.J. has had a few pay days in the league and seems to be financially well off because of endorsements and his television career. However, it comes down to what the three-time NFL DPOY values most. This could go in a direction that nobody ever expected.
Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics, and their status, heading into this week’s game and listen for more on the player below.