Everything is better when your team makes the playoffs. Food tastes better. Work is less annoying. Your significant other seems hotter. The world is yours. With the Steelers’ classic win over Baltimore on Christmas, you can now live that dream. Of course, all of the hoopla has put my Black-and-Gold mind into a frenzy of frivolity. My holiday gift is to share the contents of said mind with you. But first I feel compelled to stuff the stockings of those whom I may have offended with sweet candy canes of contrition.
So please unwrap my regrets to and for the following:
- Teenage girls in love with creeps, for comparing them to Cincinnati fans.
- Reggie Dunlop, for mentioning him but neglecting to praise his greatness.
- Guys engaged to virgins, your patience is commendable.
- People that take paid escorts to holiday office parties.
- The Eurythmics
Now, on to the Random Thoughts From a Black and Gold Mind.
- The Color Rush jersey was a treat for the senses. All-black was off the hook. Like Wesley Snipes said in “Passenger 57”, Always bet on black.
- Terry Bradshaw’s "cheerleader” comments on Mike Tomlin were, in my opinion, a backhanded favor to the Steeler coach. A majority of peers, media, fans and players are disputing that claim and showing allegiance to the Steelers HC with 102 wins. Tomlin’s retort of growing up a “Hollywood Henderson” fan was really funny. If you don't know anything about Thomas Henderson, read “Out of Control: Confessions of an NFL Casualty”. It is one of the best sports autobiographies I’ve ever read.
- Love the labeling of Antonio Brown’s game-winning grab as “The Immaculate Extension.” Not as franchise-defining as the 1972 original, this play still could be a championship definer. No word yet if Frenchy Fuqua is ever going to divulge what happened on this latest play.
- The game against the Ravens was epic. One for the ages in Steelers Nation. I originally was annoyed at the prospect of them playing on Christmas Day, but now I’d love it if they played every year on 12/25. It ended up making Christmas even more of a special day.
- My favorite tweet of the week came from Vince Williams when he typed, "Not bad for a cheerleader” after the Ravens game. That, to me, shows the solidarity that the team has when it comes to Mike Tomlin. I’m glad that the team is getting behind their coach. This type of allegiance and banding together is a far cry from their mid-season doldrums and the 4-game slide. In fact, it’s perfect timing and the kind of unity that could lead this team to sizing rings in February.
- Speaking of Williams, if you follow any one Steeler on Twitter, Williams is good entertainment. Whether it's inspiration, threatening Vontaze Burfict or current events (saying that Harambe the gorilla was in a better place because he lived in Cincinnati, was sort of inappropriate, but really funny). You can always count on some good “rhet” from VinnnyVidiVici98.
- I was pleasantly surprised to see the Joe Greene Award go to Sean Davis. I actually had my money on Artie Burns. But like a wet T-shirt contest, several candidates were outstanding in their own right, such as the plethora of winners including Burns, Davis, Javon Hargrave, Steelers Nation, the University of Maryland, Jeff Hartman and people named Davis. But the biggest winners in the group are the Steelers as a team. Apparently, they’ve uncovered three major pieces of their defensive corps for years to come. Further good news is that there have been no allegations from the Burns camp hinting at possible Russian involvement in the voting for 2016’s best Steeler rookie.
- Le’Veon Bell was the right choice as team MVP. It's obvious that his teammates and the entire organization appreciate his contributions to the team. In turn, Bell is making the right choice by announcing that he expects to be a part of the team in 2017, thus avoiding distractions. Let's hope the front office makes the right choice regarding Bell and, for his part, that “Juice” continues to make the right choices off of the field.
- Smart move announcing no “Killer Bs” for Sunday’s contest against Cleveland. Instead we get to see “the Killer 3s” battle the Browns, with Landry Jones (#3), Fitz Toussaint (#33) and Cobi Hamilton (#83) seeing a majority of the action instead. There’s no reason to risk disaster just for the sake of padding stats.
- I actually don't think Landry Jones should play the entire game. He needs to play only one half, with Zach Mettenberger seeing considerable action as well. You already know what you have in the mustachioed Jones. Mettenberger didn't see any significant action during the Pittsburgh exhibition season and the team needs to see what he brings to the table in a real game. Not giving him that chance is like cooking an expensive steak in the oven, merely because you’ve had the stove longer than your grill.
- I'm going to be rooting for silver helmets with the rabid enthusiasm of a redneck, beauty-pageant mom on Sunday. Although it pains me to cheer the Belichickens and the Raiders, wins by both teams fits in exactly with my perfect storm on the path to Houston. I'm aware that all of the competition in the playoffs is dangerous and that the Steelers will invariably say they don't care who they play. But I'd rather get there by any means necessary. If that means taking the easier way in, then so be it. If New England beats Miami, it guarantees them the top seed and ensures that the Steelers would not see them in the second round, should they advance. It also relegates Kansas City to the fifth seed, which also would keep the Steelers from playing the dangerous Chiefs until the AFC Championship Game, should both teams advance that far. If the Chiefs do get that far, it would mean they’ve knocked off the Pats and the Steelers would get the AFCCG at home, should they knock off Miami and the Carr-less Raiders in Oakland. I feel like I’ve just solved one of those lengthy Harvard equations that Matt Damon rode to prominence in “Good Will Hunting.” Wait a second, that movie was set in New England, which leads me back to my original point. "How do you like dem apples?”
- I wonder what Brian Blankenship is doing these days.
Until next time, remember the wise words of Hugh Anthony Craig III in the 1985 super hit from “Back To The Future”, “It don’t take money, don't take fame, don't take no credit card to ride this train. It's tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel and you won't feel nothing till you feel. That's the power of love”.
Take that for what it's worth and Go Steelers!