Every week, my favorite team and Steeler Nation provides my black and gold brain plenty of fodder for thought. So, I'm offering you an all expenses paid trip inside my Steeler-infested cranium. But beware, it's much like the Hotel California. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
Before we delve into my mind and explore my random thoughts, I feel compelled to issue apologies to any of the potential offendees from last week's article.
- Halloween candy
- Yinzers who shouldn't be hunting with football players during the season
- Joey Porter's gunshot-wounded buttocks
- The lecherous behavior of Jack Tripper
- The proprietors of the Regal Beagle
- Provacative dancing at homecomings
- Dudes that wear cargo shorts in the winter
- Jersey knockoffs
- Forrest Gump
- Sir Elton John- For desecrating "Bennie and the Jets" and failing to address him as "Sir"
Now, it's time once again to pick my black and gold brain.
* Farewell to the "bumblebee" jerseys. The Steelers have completed their mandatory, five-year commitment to their most-recent throwback uniform. The Steelers retire the jersey with a record of 4-2 and great sales numbers. However, It is with much chagrin that I learned that there will be no throwback for the team in 2017. This news marks the single-greatest black and gold wardrobe disappointment since Dr. Cliff Huxtable initially refused to let Theo keep the $95 Gordon Gartrelle in 1984's Season 1, Episode 8 of the Cosby Show. I guess the team will be "shirt-handed" in this department. Pittsburgh will likely sport the Color Rush jersey again next season.
* Ben Roethlisberger is playing at a MVP level. But he is leading at an MVP level, as well. Ben's handling of his young receivers has really helped speed up their growth. Plus, his comments regarding the high intensity of team practices sends a message to his teammates that he is looking out for them. He doesn't get hit in practice, so it doesn't have an effect on his body, but it has a major one for everybody else. While management won't love these comments, bEn's words will further unify the roster. Ramon Foster has already shown appreciation for Ben's support. Although it's not even close to a mutiny, it's very reminiscent of the inspirational leadership that Jon Moxon conveyed to the likes of Tweeder, Billy Bob, Wendell and the rest of the West Canaan Coyotes in 1999's "Varsity Blues".
* I can't remember an offense in Pittsburgh that could score almost at will in the manner that the 2016 Steelers can. Does anybody want to shout out "fire Todd Haley now!" Anymore? Anybody? Bueller? Yeah, didn't think so.
* When I think about the intensity of Vince Williams, I'm reminded of a George Costanza anology from "The Marine Biologist" episode of Seinfeld. The Steelers linebacker plays angry, like an old man returning soup at a deli. Having Williams on the defensive side is like having another Deebo running guys down. Plus, he's down 20 lbs and he's all over the place like Flo from Progressive. But not nearly as annoying.
* Speaking of Williams, there would be a definite advantage to NOT relegating him back to a reserve role once Ryan Shazier returns. It would behoove Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin to find a way to maximize their best talents and have them all on the field at the same juncture. Moving Lawrence Timmons to OLB like they have before or sliding No. 50 over would be a way to have them all on the field at the same time. Moving Shazier to safety is not going to happen. So forget about that. But moving him to the outside could provide a spark and you lose nothing on the inside.
* I like the signing to the Practice Squad of Vince's brother, Karlos. It's a pretty unique situation for a player of Karlos' talent to sign on to any PS. But this was indeed the best landing spot for the moment for the former Bill. Despite 9 TDs and 517 yards in 11 games last season, Karlos was let go due to a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance policy and for showing up to camp overweight. You can bet that Vince will introduce Karlos to the Steeler way and that the environment will be very positive. I'm not sure if Karlos will see the 53-man roster this year. If he does, it means an injury or the end of Fitz Toussaint in Pittsburgh.
* Antonio Brown has obviously decided that the well-being of the team is more important than his brand. After having been penalized and fined heavily for what I have dubbed "Celebrategate" (not a big fan of adding "gate" in the wake of every controversy, But it kind of fits) AB was classy after his score against the Jets and handed the ball off to a fan wearing his jersey (like Hines Ward used to do) and holding an enormous/hilarious cardboard cutout of his head.
* My dream moderator for the next presidential debate would be James Harrison. Deebo would definitely keep both candidates in line. "I said...Your two minutes are up!!!! Don't make me come over there."
* Don't mistake Chris Boswell being far down the kicking rankings as his having a bad season. Boswell, with one of the strongest legs in the league, has only had five field goal attempts this year so far. The low amount of attempts is fantastic because the team is not squandering opportunities in the red zone. The Steelers are third in the league in touchdowns in the red zone by scoring 78.57% of the time. When it comes to Boswell this year, quality is much more important than quantity. Kind of like Facebook friends.
* Despite the great team win, Steeler Nation always feels compelled to bellyache about something. Nobody liked the fake field goal attempt against the Jets. I get it. Apparently, Jordan Berry's 8.5-40 time (an exaggeration) was not enough to get the first down. But if the Aussie punter would have "kangaroo down-sported himself" to the first down marker, you all would've loved it.
* It worked for Spiderman, so what would happen if Sammie Coates burnt himself with a radioactive glue gun? Ok, that's even too ridiculous for me.
* How bad of a game did Ross Cockrell really have against the Jets? Against an elite corner in Richard Sherman the week before, Brandon Marshall had 89 yards and a touchdown. Facing Cockrell, Marshall caught eight balls for 115 yards and a score. But he was targeted 15 times. That means he was only successful against Cockrell 53% of the time. With "bend don't break" seemingly being the mantra of the defense, that's not a horrible day against a perennial Pro Bowler,
* I wonder what Chad Scott is doing these days.
Untill next time, never forget the words of Kris Kristofferson as sung by Janis Joplin..."Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose. Nothin', don't mean nothin' if it ain't free".