When you ask a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers to name one moment which paints the picture of the 2017-2018 season, most, including myself, would point to the would-be touchdown by Jesse James against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field in Week 15.
Such elation after JuJu Smith-Schuster pulled off a near miracle getting the team inside the red-zone, and it looked as if the Steelers finally slayed the Brady/Belichick monster which has haunted them for years.
Then we heard the words which have now been etched into football vocabulary:
“He did not survive the ground.”
Although the play didn’t result in the loss, the Ben Roethlisberger interception intended for Eli Rogers is what iced the game away for New England, people remember how the interception never should have occurred — not if the league’s ‘catch rule’ made any sense.
Nonetheless, the season is over, and James sat down with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews to talk about the season, and, of course, the aforementioned play. James’ demeanor certainly changes in the interview when talking about the play, and here is what he had to say about it.
“That’s a tough one to get over. Such controversy. Every week it seems there is another play that they are flipping a coin to see if it is a catch or not, so it is always going to be tough to get over. I’m sure it will be re-examined this offseason, and it will be played forever on Sportscenter.”
The entire interview wasn’t based solely on the biggest play of his professional career which he would like to forget, but also talked about how he might improve as he enters the 2018-2019 season. Specifically, when asked what he needs to work on this offseason, his response was very simple.
“I’m going to look through tape and try to find weaknesses and strengths in my game, and try to improve and minimize those weaknesses, and make the best out of my strengths. That’s what I’m going to do the next few weeks and take time to relax.”
What was also very interesting to hear James talk about was how being “banged up”, as he put it, in the middle of the season for a stretch of four games resulted in James not being near the same player he was at the beginning, and end, of the season. Injuries make sense, in hindsight.
Check out the brief video below, and see the entire interview at Steelers.com.