Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Who Dey? The Steelers Dey

I’ve heard a lot of people speculating this week on whether or not Steelers fans are satisfied with a victory over the Bengals minus their star QB Carson Palmer. Personally, I’d be lying if I were to say that seeing Palmer getting carted off the field didn’t make me feel as giddy as a schoolgirl who just got asked to prom. This is the playoffs, and it’s no time for getting all chivalrous and shit about an opposing player getting hurt, and I’m certainly not going to say something retarded like “I would have rather played them with Palmer healthy.” Fuck that. It’s not that I dislike Carson Palmer – in fact, he piloted my fantasy squad to the league championship this season and I definitely respect the guy’s arm. But I’m not stupid, and I’d much rather play the ‘Gals without Palmer than with him, and anyone who says they would feel otherwise is fooling themselves. There are no shallow victories in the NFL, and there’s no shame in chalking up a win against a team that is missing its MVP. Furthermore, if the Steelers hadn’t been without Big Ben for five games this season, they would have won the division outright and could have possibly had a first round bye, so the way I see it, the Carson Palmer injury isn’t what made the difference between the two teams on Sunday. The ‘Gals might have scored a little more if Palmer had played the whole game, but the Steelers scored 31 points, and only the shitty Bengals defense can be blamed for that. Here’s my message for the ‘Gals and their fans: shit happens, and you either suck it up and find a way to win the game or you go home sulking like little girls and whine about how you would have won if so and so hadn’t been hurt. The ‘Gals, of course, aren’t willing to admit that the Steelers still own their sorry asses, but what transpired on Sunday speaks for itself. I hope their meaningless division championship eases their minds as they watch the second round on TV this weekend. The saddest thing in sports is when an upstart team attempts to instigate an unrequited rivalry with a team that has been a powerhouse for decades. I’m afraid that the Bengals/Steelers isn’t a real rivalry until the Steelers decide it is, and that will only happen when Cincinnati proves it can finish the job.

The best part of the victory was that all the loud-mouth punks in Cincinnati will have to shut the fuck up until next season. I am really, really sad that we won’t be seeing any more stupid touchdown celebrations from that joke of a human being Chad Johnson. For all the shit he talked, he didn’t show up for one single game against the Steelers this season. Likewise, I didn’t see T.J. Houshmandzadeh denigrating the terrible towel like he did after the game in December either. I find it amusing that Marvin Lewis made a really bitchy comment at his post-game press conference about Ben Roethlisberger being a cry baby. What a sore loser - fuck him. I hope he has fun pushing his beloved Carson Palmer around in a wheel chair for the next several months, asshole. Maybe Marv should focus his attention on keeping his own team in line instead of letting his pretty-boy prima donnas run wild, talking shit constantly even when they have never actually done a goddamn thing during the course of their shitty careers. To top it all off, last month the ‘Gals had the gall to record a rap video featuring Bootsy Collins, entitled “Fear da Tiger.” There’s no better way to sabotage a successful season than the premature celebratory rap. As far as I know, the ’85 Bears are the only team in the history of organized sports to have successfully recorded a rap mid-season. The Steelers tried it in ’94 with disastrous results. More recently, the Miami Hurricanes football team made headlines with their jaw-droppingly raunchy manifesto “Don’t Bring Yo’ Ho to the Seventh Flo’” before mailing in the second half of their season. When will people realize that bullshit hip hop posturing is never a good move? The only people who are impressed by that kind of shit are teenage boys and their intellectual equivalents. Why can’t a team record a thoughtful adult-contemporary rock album as a way to demonstrate their dominance in their particular sport? I know it’s not going to happen, but it’s too bad that we don’t live in a world where it’s as easy to intimidate someone with intellectual and emotional complexity as it is with recounts of hotel room gang bangs and boasts of one’s willingness to “ride on their enemies.”

Anyway, those of you who watched the game could see that it got pretty ugly after the Palmer injury. There was definitely a lot of jawing going on back and forth between the two teams. The adjective that every media outlet in the nation apparently agreed to use to describe the game was “chippy.” To me that word sounds like it is more appropriate to describe a moody teenager than a bunch of massive, ill motherfuckers who are capable of causing grievous bodily injury to one another. I’d say a more accurate description of the mood on the field was “really fucking pissed.” I guess that when two teams are facing each other for the third time in a season that is bound to be the case. I expected as much from the ‘Gals, because, like I said, they’re a bunch of punks, but the Steelers lost their cool on occasion on Sunday as well. Even the mild-mannered Troy Polamalu made two uncharacteristically bone-head plays, one of which resulted in a Cincinnati TD. To be honest, however, I loved seeing the Steelers playing with that kind of fury. It’s about time. I’ve had a chip on my should ever since the ’94 AFC Championship loss to the Chargers, and I am excited that the players finally seem to care as much about winning the Super Bowl as I do. The biggest problem with the Steelers in the past was the half-ass effort with which they always seemed to come out of the gates in the playoffs. The AFC Championship loss last season was the last straw for this team, and I get the feeling watching them that they want the Super Bowl worse than anyone this year.

Perhaps it’s just me trying to rationalize the possibility of the Steelers making it to the Super Bowl, but I think being on the road for the playoffs is going to help the Steelers. There is something invigorating about being road warriors in a hostile environment, and the Steelers play much better as bad guys than they do as the crowd favorites, and the they are clearly the black sheep in the AFC this year. I think most fans and pundits wanted to see the ‘Gals win last week, and now because of the Carson Palmer injury I think the common perception is that the Steelers are dirty (even though nobody seems to care that the Patriots under Belichick are the dirtiest team in football). I am sure most non-Steelers fans will be rooting for the Colts this weekend because everybody wants to see a Patriots/Colts rematch in the AFC Championship. If the possibility of cock-blocking the national love affair with the Colts isn’t enough incentive for them to come out fighting on Sunday, the embarrassing performance by the Steelers in the RCA Dome in November will certainly be fresh in the minds of the Steelers players. Is it a tough match-up? Of course. Am I going to guarantee victory again? Absolutely. The Colts haven’t been playing full speed in three weeks, and it always takes some time to get back up to NFL speed again after significant time off. Very quietly, the Steelers have become one of the most potent offenses in the NFL over the last few weeks. They’ve scored 30 or more points in each of their last three games, even though the Steelers have been running the clock out for most of the second half of those games. Willie Parker has found the groove that he was in early in the season and you can tell the Bus is on a mission to play his final game in front of his hometown crowd in the Super Bowl. Big Ben has shaken off the ghosts of last year’s playoffs, and the offensive line is healthy and playing at the top of its game once again. Importantly, the Steelers seemed to have their silent count working efficiently during their trip to the Metrodome in December, and I doubt that the Colts will have the balls to pipe in artificial crowd noise again, so I fully expect the Steelers’ offense not to be nearly as dysfunctional this time around. That means that the key to victory will likely be the Steelers finding a way to shut down the Colts’ prolific offense. If you discount the first TD pass to Marvin Harrison on the first play of the game and the stupid on-side kick at the beginning of the second half, the Steelers defense actually did a pretty good job of containing Peyton Manning in their first showdown. They seemed to have the most success in their nickel package when they were only rushing two or three linemen. The coverage ability of the Steelers’ secondary has been underestimated all season, and with Polamalu the playmaker lurking in the outfield I think the Steelers will fare reasonably well against the Indianapolis juggernaut. With that being said, there is no doubt that the Colts will get theirs, and the Steelers are going to have to come up with at least two turnovers and convert them into points if they are to have a shot in this game. It won’t be easy, but this is what the playoffs are all about. If all else fails, we’ll just send out Kimo von Oelhoffen to roll up on Peyton Manning’s knee.


Blogger Nick said...

Injuries happen. When it happened to Jim Miller, a mediocre player in '01, nobody really talked about it. We lost that game, and everybody ignored the fact that we lost Miller to a cheap hit. Really, I say FUCK palmer. If you join the League, you have to be prepared for injuries or even death. That's why you get paid all the money. I got paid 12,000 a year to be a host at a restaurant - no real chance of injury. Even if Palmer died on the field, why should we feel bad - he gets paid to take that risk. Sure death is a lousy thing, but life is a state of becoming, meaning shit happens, nothing is perfect, and pain is to be expected. Fuck Palmer.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Cory said...

On the baseball diamond the balance between the infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $100, what is the effect of this symmetry?

12:30 PM  
Blogger Cory said...

Answer: the exhilarating tension between being and becoming... being and becoming

12:31 PM  

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