Let me start off by saying that it's Bengals week. I despise the Bengals more than I hate the Ravens. I actually have a sliver of respect for Baltimore and their fan base. I just can't say the same about Cincinnati. They are a poorly run organization, their fans are intolerable and a majority of their players are classless.
Just my opinion.
Believe me, this is tame compared to anything on their message boards about Pittsburgh.
Before I get to the plethora of random thoughts emanating from my cranium, I once again feel compelled to apologize for and to the minions that I may have offended in last weeks column. So a sincere John Denver song goes out to the following...
- Anybody who owns a Yancey Thigpen jersey. (I proudly own one.)
- My dad, my daughter's Ratbird-loving Godfather, Cousin Dave and Cousin Vinny (Seriously, I have a Cousin Vinny and he's not Joe Pesci.)
- To the Atlantic Ocean for not mentioning them in the same breath of greatness as Ronald, Danny, Billy, Frank and the Pacific.
- The aliases of an insane Clinton Portis
- Murder She Wrote
- The JFK assasination
- St. Augustine, Florida
- Jazzercise and Zumba, but not Crossfit.
- Causing anybody to have to picture Jane Fonda or Richards Simmons sweating on VHS.
- Bad Brad Pitt films
- The mention of dead hookers in holiday movies
- Cornell Gowdy
- All of you (and I bet there's a bunch) that spent $1.29 on iTunes to download the awesome "Caribbean Queen" because I included the chorus.
Now let's trim the tree of my black and god mind.
- Cincinnati fans are delusional like a teenage girl in love with a creep. And like that girl, they are blind. They hate Pittsburgh, but refuse to see any flaws on their own team. Now, I'm not afraid to tell it like it is. Our team doesn't include choir boys by any stretch of the imagination. But Cincy fans act like the Pacmans, the Burficts and the Pekos of the world are saints and that Pittsburgh is the dirtiest team in the league with the money to buy off refs. My goal against Cincinnati is to win and win clean. I would enjoy nothing more that watching the escalator exodus at the beginning of the fourth quarter again though.
- My other goal for the Steelers against the Bengals is to come out of it unscathed. Like Reggie Dunlop in "Slap Shot", I wouldn't be surprised if their aren't unspoken bounties floating around the "nati" locker room on Ben Roethlisberger, AB or "Juice" Bell. Look, I don't want Vontaze Burfict injured intentionally. It wouldn't be right. I just fear that this team is undisciplined enough to hurt a Steeler, just to hurt a Steeler.
- Le'Veon Bell runs with the patience of a guy engaged to a virgin for three years. He's going to continue to raise that team rushing mark. I was thrilled to watch him break Willie Parker's ten-year record, but it was also bittersweet for me. I was there on that night in 2006 when FWP went for 223 against Cleveland.
- Speaking of Bell, it's very apparent that the multiple suspensions are not going to harm his value to the team or any other at all. With the talk of the franchise tag and the intention to sign him long-term being brought back up on Friday, it's refreshing to hear No. 26 voice his intention to stay in Pittsburgh and stating that he's not worried about a deal at all right now. I hope that sentiment remains.
- Roosevelt Nix returning from injury has helped boost both the running game and special teams. Nix isn't going to look sexy on the stat sheet, but he is as valuable as a paper bag and scissors at a Cleveland game.
- Mike Tomlin's 100th win gives the Steelers four coaches in the top 40 in all-time wins in the NFL. Tomlin is #40, Buddy Parker (who achieved his only 51 of his 103 wins in Pittsburgh) is at #38, Bill Cowher's 149 has him at #20 and Chuck Noll is at #8 with 193 wins. They are four of the last six coaches in team history.
- The Broncos schedule may make it possible for an AFC North team to claim a WC spot. However, losing to the division to the Ravens would make it an unsatisfying playoff entry. I realize getting into the playoffs is getting into the playoffs, but this team's best chance at a World Championship is to win out. Anything else, to me, would feel tainted. It would be like paying somebody to go to the company Christmas party with you and then bragging about the caliber of date you scored to your coworkers.
- I don't know if Darrius Heyward-Bey will be back again this season, but his healthy presence is much needed in the stretch run. DHB as a decoy is an asset in itself, but having No. 88 to stretch a defense and give them more to worry about, would be paramount.
- The Steelers were delayed on the plane ride home in Buffalo for over two hours last week. Antonio Brown decided to take to Facebook Live and take Steeler Nation on the plane. It showed a loose and confident team celebrating a win. It also showed a team that was not ready to hang it up just yet. One of the highlights was Mike Tomlin (off camera) congratulating and sternly teaching Artie Burns at the same time.8 It just shows that there is more to this team than we know.
- I wonder what Leroy Thompson is doing these days.
Until next time, The Eurythmics explained it best in their 1983 debut #1 "Sweet Dreams"..."Some of them want to use you. Some of them went to get used by you. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused."
Take that for what it's worth and Go Steelers!