What a difference a change of scenery can make.
After leaving the field during the final minutes of the Steelers Week 11 victory over the Titans, Pittsburgh released the disgruntled LeGarrette Blount, who was instantly snatched up by the New England Patriots. Blount was immediately inserted into a prominent role in a rotating New England backfield, where he received 20 carries in his first game, finishing with 73 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a Patriots victory.
Last season, Blount torched the Colts in the playoffs, rushing for 166 yards and four touchdowns. Last night, Blount did nearly as much damage, rushing for 148 yards and three touchdowns, sending New England to the Super Bowl in the process.
The loss of Le'Veon Bell was cited by many observers as the bane of the Steelers in their Wildcard playoff loss to the Ravens. In fact, without Bell, it seemed as if the Steelers lacked any run production at all. Attitude issues notwithstanding, it seems as if Blount could've helped support a Pittsburgh rushing attack that seemed to flat-line without their All-Pro. Blount wasn't afforded much of an opportunity with the Steelers, but showed he was a capable talent in his work with the Patriots in the last several weeks.
Blount's performance Sunday night is likely to leave a bad taste in the mouth's of Steelers fans. He was unstoppable, running over Colts defenders like a varsity player scrimmaging the junior high squad. Blount will suit up for the Super Bowl, with a chance to play the role of hero once again, as Tom Brady and company will surely look to control the game with a power running game against the Seahawk's top-ranked pass defense.
It seems as if Blount's fortuitous situation is the result of talent and potential championing over a poor attitude. Many players echoed a bit of a 'good riddance' memorandum when asked about the departure of Blount. Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers All-Pro center, supported the move, stating the team was better for not having that attitude in the locker room. It's commendable the Steelers organization weigh a team-first player heavier than a talented, but dysfunctional asset. It was right to get rid of Blount, and it's wrong to look at his success as "what could have been."
The Steelers players will be watching the Super Bowl on television rather than from the sidelines, but they can do so knowing the Pittsburgh Steelers are an organization that values team chemistry, selflessness and a good attitude. LaGarrette Blount didn't exhibit those traits, so as far as Steelers fans are concerned, it should be "Good luck in the Super Bowl!" - and good riddance.