The Steelers and Patriots renew their one-sided rivalry of sorts this weekend in the Steel City. The Steelers are coming off of an emotional win, while the Patriots sulk after a demoralizing defeat to the Dolphins. With the No. 1 seed conceivably at the end of this tunnel, my black-and-gold mind is swirling like a bag of Earl Grey in Boston Harbor so many moons ago.
But first, some apologies after the last ‘Random Thoughts’ two weeks ago...
- Admiral Ackbar
- Suggesting that the New WKRP from 90-92 was terrible. It was merely sub-par.
- Gary Cherone...Extreme Gary was decent, Van Halen Gary was rough.
- Naked Vanessa Williams
- Recalling the downfall of Chi-Chi’s.
- Old vengeful girlfriends
- Axl and GnR. Sorry that you’re linked with that crappy jungle team in the nati.
- Dan Turk
Now, let's get to Random Thoughts From a Black-and-Gold Mind.
- There haven't been many updates, but Ryan Shazier getting rehabilitation treatment has got to be a good sign. Always pray for No. 50.
- On another serious note, Artie Burns (age 22) claims that he knows that he has CTE already in this quote from Sports Illustrated.
“I definitely know I have it,” Burns said. “I’m going to [test positive for] CTE. I don’t need a test. Is it going to tell me how much I have? We play a physical sport, man. Humans are not made to run into each other.”
That's downright frightening. Artie is right that a human can't take the punishment that football players do all the time, but I hope he's wrong (I don't think he is) and players find better protection against it. CTE is the biggest threat to the game of football right now and I couldn't blame Burns or any other player for bowing out right now.
- A lot of people think that it's a bad omen that the Patriots lost to the Dolphins, citing that they never lose two-in-a-row. Twice in 2015, the Pats lost back-to-back. It's rare, like a chick that digs really fat dudes, but it happens.
- Boy is it nice to have Sunday afternoon football back on two of the next three weeks. I felt like I was wandering through the unknown like Will in Stranger Things or Macaulay Caulkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Although there were no paint cans, nor any Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci. I'm not the perfect parent, my kids find new ways to run amok on me in public, but I don't understand how Kevin's parents kept losing that kid. I also don't understand how a 10-year old can take down grown men with toys and home appliances, and I ultimately don't understand why I, or any of us, watched the sequels.
- This week on the Adventures of JuJu Smith Schuster, JuJu got a dog, took hundreds of kids to Jumanji and watched his teammates play on TV during his suspension at home while wearing his helmet. You gotta love this kid. I'm all about #FreeJuJu, but I'd like to #AdoptJuJu. I guarantee he would do more chores around the house than my kids and maybe even give me free tickets to games. I'll give him all the Hotpockets, Gogurts and Oreos that his heart desires.
- The “AB for MVP” movement needs to gain steam. I understand the value of a great quarterback, but if anyone other than a signal caller is having a profound impact on a winning team...it's No. 84.
- I've heard some fans say that beating the Patriots this weekend is not as important as beating them in the playoffs because they may be impossible to beat twice in a season. I get the logic, but I feel that you get the wins when you get a chance to win and you strive to beat them again. I think the Steelers need to just break the string and have the confidence to build on it, should they meet again.
- Steelers Nation is so obsessed with the Patriots. I've heard some fans imply that winning the Super Bowl, but not facing and beating the Pats in the playoffs, would taint it. I call bull on that. Winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal and it doesn't matter how you get there. The quest continues this weekend. It's like not getting bacon on your baked potato when it's just as scrumptious with butter, cheese and sour cream.
- Oh no. We only get Ben Roethlisberger at home this weekend and not at night. Primetime/Home Ben is like David Copperfield...an absolute magician. With apologies to 1977 Reggie Jackson, Ben is the straw that stirs the drink. Relax though, the national game at 4:25 is considered prime-time to CBS and also in the players eyes.
- A lot has been said about the impact of the absence of Ryan Shazier to the defense. His speed can't be replicated. But I also feel that Tyler Matakevich's absence was felt last week as well. While not nearly as quick, "Dirty Red" always seems to be around the ball.
- Patriots DC Matt Patricia is a great tactician, but he looks like your high-school buddy that asks to crash at your house for a few weeks, eats all of your Hot Pockets, plays Xbox all day while "looking for a new gig" and attempts to have hallway conversations with your wife wearing nothing but socks and a towel.
- Joe Haden's possible return this weekend would be massive.
- Mike Tomlin won't be, but he should be a finalist for Coach of the Year. I think he's been a miracle worker with Team Turmoil this year.
- I wonder what Guy Whimper is doing these days.
Think about the wise words of Kenny Loggins when you settle into your couch crevice for Pats-Steelers.
The waiting is over, no, don't you run
No way to hide
No time for wonderin' why
It's here, the moment is now, about to decide
Let 'em believe
Leave 'em behind
But keep me near in your heart
Know whatever you do, I'm here by your side
For once in your life, here's your miracle
Stand up and fight
Make no mistake where you are
(This is it)
You're goin' no further
(This is it)
Until it's over and done
- Take that for what it's worth, and Go Steelers!