Could this be the final nail in the coffin for the Steelers? It appears that’s the case, but it could always be worse. Can you imagine if the Steelers would’ve beaten the Dolphins, and followed that up with wins over the Bengals and Packers, only to lose to the Browns in the regular season finale. Not possible? Well then you’re in denial for what got this team into trouble in the first place. Losing to Tennessee and Oakland are two examples of why it might be a moot point. Even if the Steelers had pulled off a perfect December, it probably wouldn’t have mattered–this would be a “one and done” team if there ever was one. But now we have a pretty good idea that it won’t come to that, and the only question left is their final record. The Steelers could be as medicore as 8 and 8 or as bad as 5-11. But look at the bright side. You’ll have lots of time to follow the Pens and start the countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting to Bradenton.
Some interesting quotes (past and present) in the aftermath of Mike Tomlin’s sideline incident in the Thanksgiving-night loss at Baltimore.
Safety Ryan Clark, talking about the possibility of a Tomlin fine:
“…coaches’ contracts are guaranteed man…”
Cornerback Cortez Allen, who tackled Jones on the kickoff return, on his coach being so close to field and possibly altering the return of Jones:
“I would’ve caught him anyway.”
Mike Tomlin, in 2007, when asked what he thought about the involvement of the Patriots in Spygate:
“Usually where there is smoke, there’s fire. Those rumors are founded on something so it is not totally shocking, no”
Nobody will ever know whether Mike Tomlin intended to get into the way of Jacoby Jones on his sensational 73-yard kickoff return in the Thanksgiving-night loss at Baltimore. But it seems obvious that by being so close to the sideline, Tomlin re-directed Jones towards the middle of the field. Nobody has a better angle of that play than WPXI-TV. It shows Tomlin stepping first towards the field, then quickly out of the way as Jones got close. Tomlin’s final move away from the field avoided a collision. Tomlin insists he was watching the play on the JumboTron, but why was he so close to the field in the first place. The league can’t prove intent, but Tomlin was out of the designated coaching area, and he, along with the Steelers, may be facing some major punishment in the form of a fine, and even, according to some speculation, a loss of a draft pick.
United States Senator John Heinz was killed on April 4, 1991 when his chartered plane collided with a helicopter above a Philadelphia suburb. One week later, after a playoff loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Civic Arena, Bob Johnson stood behind a podium in a small room off a hallway leading the Penguins locker room. Badger Bob had no trouble putting the loss into perspective and instead focused on Senator Heinz and the recent tragedy. Johnson said that life wasn’t fair. I can still remember the blank stare on his face. 7 1/2 months later, Johnson himself was dead after a short battle with brain cancer. He died on this date, November 26th, 22 years ago. He was the celebrated head coach of the Penguins first Stanley Cup champion, and a great man.
I’ve known Debbie Gradkowski since the days when she was Debbie Delsardo. She and I attended the same grade school. Debbie’s part of an exclusive group. She’s an NFL mom, but as the mother of two NFL players, she’s also the member of a very exclusive group. 30-year-old Bruce is the Steelers backup QB, and 25-year-old Gino is the Ravens starting center. Debbie says she’ll “split her vote” and root for both team’s offenses. Debbie’s daughter made a special “hybrid” jersey that lets Debbie show off the team colors for both of her sons. The Gradkowskis have a long Thanksgiving tradition centered around food and football, so in many ways, Thursday night’s game will be a continuation of that tradition. The Gradkowskis will be in Baltimore, but the extended family, including many cousins, will be watching back here in Pittsburgh. Brother against brother and the ultimate family Turkey Bowl.
A week ago, it was assumed that the Steelers were out of the race for the playoffs. Then again, as recently as halftime today, it was assumed they were out of the race for the playoffs! They’re still in a difficult position and have a lot of ground to gain in the next 6 weeks, but suddenly the Steelers are back in the hunt. The Steelers, Browns, Ravens, Titans, Raiders and Chargers are all 4 and 6. Even if the Steelers could win 4 of their final 6, they’d finish with a record of only 8 and 8…the same as 2006. But tonight is a night to think positive, and suddenly, there’s a glimmer of hope.
This is one of my favorite baseball images (from a poster hanging in the Pirates press box). The kids are stacking their hands on the bat in an old tradition of choosing sides in a sandlot or playground game. What you may not know is that this is how the phrase “getting the upper hand” is thought to have originated.
I’m not sure who won the bidding for the signed Andrew McCutchen bat at the Alby Oxenreiter Golf Classic, but I do know who won the MLB National League Most Valuable Player award! That signed bat from McCutchen turned out to be a GREAT item! Congratulations Cutch on your MVP & thanks again for your generous donation to help the Multiple Sclerosis Service Society! McCutchen becomes (officially) the 6th Pirates player to win the MVP (Dick Groat, Roberto Clemente, Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, Barry Bonds and (unofficially) the 7th (Paul Waner won the “National League Most Valuable Player Citation” in 1927, before the official MVP award was created in 1931). McCutchen joins a legendary group. He’s right where he belongs!