Crazy Steelers fans are something else…
2011 RECORD – 12-4: The Baltimore Ravens completed a season sweep of the Steelers, and in turn relegated Pittsburgh to wild card weekend. A run-in with the NFL’s messiah led to an early postseason exit for the defending AFC champs. While the Denver loss was shocking, the seeds for an early Pittsburgh playoff dismissal were in place. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Browns in Week 14 to go with a partial tear in his rotator cuff; and three weeks later in Cleveland, running back Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL in the season finale. Pittsburgh’s defense, while an elderly bunch, still finished tops in total defense. Although, they forced just 15 turnovers in 2011 – last in the NFL.
LAS VEGAS ODDS TO WIN SUPER BOWL XLVII: 12/1
DON’T TAKE THIS GUY IN YOUR FANTASY DRAFT: Mike Wallace. If he plays, he’ll be tremendous, duh. However, if you’re having a draft in mid-August and he is still not signed, what do you do? Let him slide. Over the last few years “that guy” pops up in the draft; someone who is a gamble due to a contract or injury issue. Last year, there was uncertainty over Peyton Manning’s status (I witnessed a poor sap take him in the second round of a draft). In 2010, Vincent Jackson held out until mid-October and then had to sit three more games because of a league-mandated suspension. Wallace’s situation is cause for concern. From the sounds of things, I wouldn’t expect him back in Pittsburgh before training camp’s conclusion.
NOTABLE GAME: September 16 vs. NY Jets – The Steeler Revenge Tour opens at home against the New York Jets. It’ll be the first time the Pittsburgh defense will have a chance to get their collective hands on Tim Tebow since he went all John Elway on them last January. I’m guessing Pittsburgh’s first hit on Tebow will register at 1850 PSI.
STEELER YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ON TWITTER: James Harrison. It’s not that Harrison is wildly entertaining on Twitter but his responses to any league matter are rather comical:
On Robert Kraft’s audition video:
On the Saints bounty mess:
On Pittsburgh’s horrific throwback jerseys:
Harrison also tweets about food, beverages, movies, and acupuncture. You can’t lose.
WHY THEY CAN’T WIN THE SUPER BOWL: Age and Injury. Roethlisberger has the body of a 40-year-old at this point. Too bad he is only 30. Meanwhile, three of Pittsburgh’s four projected starters in the secondary (Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark) are 30 or older. Harrison and Casey Hampton are on the PUP list and while both aren’t expected to miss substantial periods of time, one wonders how much gas they’ll have in the tank come December and January.
That is often the problem with older clubs. They might look great in September and October. Yet, once the post-Thanksgiving stretch drive hits, things begin to change and bodies breakdown.
The Steelers began to leak oil in their win at home versus Cleveland in December and regressed from there.
SONG THAT EMBODIES THE 2012 STEELERS: AGE AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A NUMBER – AALIYAH
Pittsburgh is the NFL’s version of the Philadelphia Phillies; an experienced and talented team that can still win but must stay healthy due to being a veteran-reliant, otherwise…woof. As we saw last season, the Steelers could have easily challenged New England for the AFC crown but the two Baltimore losses and most importantly, critical injuries to offensive stars doomed them. Defensively, they still pack a punch but their star players are aging. Pittsburgh’s youth must come to the forefront for this team to go back to the Super Bowl and complete the “Stairway to Seven”.
(Corny tagline, I know.)
The AFC misses the depth and quality of the NFC in terms of Super Bowl contenders. Thus, the Steelers can still make a push to the Super Bowl.