ICE AND FIRE
By The Fillerbuster
Greetings and salutations, people. Thanks for coming aboard (the boat).
SIDE NOTE 1: If you still like my one liners on every subject in sports news, it still exists. Just go on the site and click on the This And That dropdown. One sentence, numbered, old school style with comments on just about everything in sports and not in sports…still is in play.
SIDE NOTE 2: I have a full time job, and the bulk of this was written Tuesday night, but the Steelers decided to already make a change on Wednesday, so sorry for the after-the-fact delivery on one of my points.
Let’s turn and burn though for now.
So, let’s chat. As sports fans, we have ALL been in a similar situation. Actually, most years, we ALL are in this situation since only one team raises the trophy.
What did OU fans do during the College Football Playoff title game after getting a chance to top a FG in the first OT, but then losing control of the game for the SECOND time? What do Steelers fans do this weekend when they know they should have been there but failed to logically stop any type of Jax offense at ALL? How does the sting go away fast enough for the literally miracle-beat Saints fans to tolerate just being a FOOTBALL fan and watch the Vikings-Eagles battle it out? How do the Falcons fans…never mind? They are pretty much the NFC Steelers. They are a team that not only loses, but gets fans to the brink of elation BEFORE they blow it.
But, let’s backtrack. I feel like I need to debrief myself and my site on the fallout of the Steelers:
- They were only IN the game due to a couple of GUTSY calls on 4th down plays in the Jax end. They should have counted their blessings in the first place for BEING there.
- You can take away everything else, and the Steelers didn’t STOP Jacksonville, even WHEN they adjusted to Jax coming out throwing early.
- The absolute truth is that you are gutsy if you don’t kick FG’s early on and CONVERT, but an idiot if you don’t convert those same plays and come away scoreless.
- Big Ben has NO QB sneaks since 2014, and MAKE him do that if that is what the play calls for.
- He is a monster QB. He could probably get a few inches with following ONE guy up the gut.
- I look back on the decision to NOT kick it deep after getting it to a TD and I still am SO confused how he even thought otherwise.
- Overlooking a team for the next game is only overlooked if you don’t hold serve.
- My joking, delirious rationalization was that at least Ben didn’t have to lose to Tom Brady AGAIN.
- I said I would release Ben after his college bar incident. I have pledged my support in Tomlin. I don’t straddle the fence with these items. After THIS game, I am in support of firing the coaches who were involved in some of those decisions. You can’t have this much talent and fall this short.
- Of course, Ben has come out this week, endorsing keeping the coaching staff. That is what I call covering all bases FLUFF (and smart).
- Ben announced he is coming back, and that is great, but I didn’t really need to hear it RIGHT after the game. Glad you all CONTINUED to look ahead, even in pressers. Can’t you act a little upset for a few days?
- The CADENCE of the Steelers (staying in bounds 3 times as an example) on the drive when down 10 was SLOW. You looked mopey, slow, unprepared, and you shouldn’t have even TRIED to drive if you weren’t going to be efficient about it. I have seen some miracles just in MY lifetime, and they should have at least set UP the chance at a successful onside kick and a FG.
- Did Belichick penalize James Harrison for watching cartoons instead of game film during the future opponents’ game?
- Glad the Bengals fans have the cash to give to the charity of Bortles to rub it in.
- Think that lost game in Chicago earlier in the season the Steelers wouldn’t mind having back?
- With all of the close one score games, I really only noticed the full breadth of the Steelers’ offense 3-4 times all year, with one coming to mind of the second half of the Titans game.
- I could go on, but let’s get back to the issue at hand.
Wait, one more random thing on the Saints-Vikings game. Speaking from the angle of BEING one of those people, I bet with the whole miracle last play, no one was really paying attention to what was HAPPENING on the field during the “post” game pandemonium. I sure was paying attention. The kneel down extra point play? BIG time importance in Vegas. I had the Saints and 5.5 points. The kneel down saved me and a couple other hundred thousand people some cash. Should have technically been 30-24, but it ended up 29-24 because of having to get players back on the field again after the miracle.
So, what do I do this weekend. I can’t speak for everyone on this subject, but it will be painful. I will watch the Eagles-Vikings out of pure football love, and knowing what they do has no bearing on me personally. The other game? More of a problem. My advantage is my passion for sports. I will watch it because I NEED to watch it. Many reasons. I am witnessing perhaps the greatest player, coach and football franchise ever. I respect that in itself. Jacksonville would be the biggest season to season turnaround…like ever….in NFL history. That is fun to watch also. I love football. I plan on contributing to sports sites in the future. I can get over my Steelers pain for a few hours to watch the title game for the AFC. As I am not one to have to unplug my television the TV during the AFC Championship, on the flip side I also would not fault a Steelers fan who only liked the Steelers for NOT watching it.
I am probably also mad that THIS Pats run would have Brady beating underwhelming QB’s Mariota, Bortles, and either Keenum or Foles. Easiest road to the Super Bowl of ALL of their runs…IF it happens. They have The Hoodie though, so THAT team doesn’t need to worry about LOOKING AHEAD. That apparently is only a Steelers problem.
The Saints situation I can discuss from an unbiased view. I will say this. IF, the Saints had no Super Bowls to this point post Katrina or EVER, then I don’t know if I could watch the NFC title game. That would be beyond heartbreak (SYMPATHETIC PAIN if you read all of my blogs (read House of Pain)). That would be painful for other fans to see the pain of Saints fans, before their ring the lovable losers of the league. And, it still is painful to a POINT. But, they DID get a Super Bowl post-hurricane, and therefore I don’t think the pain is as deep as it could have been. Do I sympathize with them still? Heck yeah. (BAD BOUNCE pain per my House of Pain blog). But, it was a game you were down early big, were playing on the road, were meeting a team seemingly of destiny, and weren’t supposed to win. The end of the game was brutal. I get it. And, to be honest, my problem wouldn’t be just the fact the game had two other teams. I would have the MOST problem the fact that we have the weakest #1 seed in YEARS on either side. The Eagles are very beatable, and I am most upset that Brees couldn’t have the chance to outduel Foles easily.
I asked the biggest Saints fan at work today what HE would be doing this weekend. He told me another rationale besides watching for being a sports fans. He said he picks a different team to root for based on a particular reason. He had a connection with Leonard Fournette. He will root for the Jags. That is fine. I might too, but no connection and only because I want to see Tom Brady go down. Or maybe I want Tom Brady to lose to the NFC. Or, maybe I want TB12 to win because he is just increasing his legend, and cool to say I watched it ALL. Basically, I am glad he has his new temporary allegiance down, because I am still delirious slightly from the loss.
That’s great Fillerbuster, and thanks for splitting the atom on the above. But what about the theme? What gives with ICE AND FIRE. The Fillerbuster will tell you (I like to talk like Rickey Henderson here and there).
Permission to FIRE away, Rooneys. Not that you NEED my say, but I give it to you as one of the most passionate Steelers fans I have ever met. Let’s face the truth. Tomlin won his first Super Bowl early on and with Cowher personnel. I am not saying he hasn’t won the big one, and I don’t condone coaches who just don’t win it all, but I condone coaches who don’t win the big one WITH a team like his AND who makes very obviously faulty decisions in a big game like last Sunday. Everyone has a bad day, too, but what has been classified as gutsy in the past toeing the line NOW has to explain obvious decisions in a game that SHOULD have been played at Heinz Field had they taken care of business earlier against the Pats. I would still give Keith Butler more time, as he was heir apparent to LeBeau and is a young guy, but would have NO problem in firing Haley and/or Tomlin. And think about this. Tomlin made the up and comer status by leading a defense. Except for being a big play defense here and there, their weakness has been their defense. Underachieving defense combined with an offense never truly operating on all cylinders does not lead to big game wins. Sure, you don’t typically fire a coach who went 13-3 in the regular season. Sure, the Steelers have had THREE coaches since 1969 and I am proud of that fact. Sure, they were a game or bounce away from heading to Foxboro this week, but don’t we have to penalize game management also when you have the most potent offense in the NFL?
Tomlin’s record totally supports keeping him, and let’s differentiate this opinion: I am not saying I WANT him fired, but I am saying I won’t shed a tear if he IS and that I went from IN his corner to gray area with that game. The Steelers don’t need a rebuild, especially with Ben at the tail end of his career. What they DO need is self-acknowledgement of what DOES need to change. Examples:
- Be a leader that people follow due to action. You TALKING about the Pats at ALL after your loss earlier gave your team leniency to do the same when mic’d up.
- Be more in control of your team. I am not saying be The Hoodie, but don’t let players say less than intelligent things to the media. The messaging can be embarrassing or minimally ambiguous.
- Acknowledge that you, Mike Tomlin, have now lost enough “gutsy” decisions to warrant becoming one of those more boring, less exciting, by the book winning coaches.
- Have Todd Haley put in a QB sneak into the audible playbook.
- Your players looking disorganized and listless for the first 10 minutes of game time is on YOU.
- Maybe think about getting rid of Todd Haley (good, already done).
- The Silver Lining on not winning this past weekend is that Bell doesn’t have that one title which he said he could “retire” on.
Today at our company meeting, we had ex-Navy Seal Brent Gleeson speak to our company. Maybe Mike Tomlin and the Rooneys should examine the takeaways from that speech.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
- The easiest day was yesterday.
- All in. All the time.
We were saying that the Vikings were playing like a team of destiny BEFORE that Godsend (just saying that because it must be true since everyone was thanking God relentlessly after multiple times-not sure God watches football and if he does, he probably goes with the global futbol more) play from Diggs. Case Keenum is a confusingly consistent enigma wrapped in a puzzle. The defense seems to get BETTER each week somehow? The freaking Super Bowl is played at THEIR crib. What goes on outside of their pretty little new dome? Snow and ICE.
Scary things about the Vikings right now.
- They play a dragon video theme each home game, which falls into line with my GOT theme
- They have not one, not two, but THREE QB’s on their roster who all think they might start next year and who all will be available for other teams soon.
- They don’t win with turnovers, glam, or stats…everything starts with what you NEED to win it all…the defense.
- Case Keenum is right now the more mobile, slightly more flashy, less boring version of Trent Dilfer from back in his Ravens days.
- Pretty sure they demolished the LA Rams season personally with their regular season win. So much so that they didn’t even have to play them again.
- Case Keenum is basically playing himself, just with a better defense. Both Foles and Keenum started the season on the bench.
- The Vikings are 8-1 at their new stadium.
- Imagine if Dalvin Cook wouldn’t have had a season ending injury…wow.
- Prince died within the last year and is from MN.
SIDE NOTE 3: I am a big naming convention guy, and VERY depressed of the names of that Diggs play I have seen. What about “Gopher Seven?” (play was called Seven Heaven) How about “The Wonderlake?” Whatever. Just had a few I thought of after thinking about it for 10 seconds. I know. Those stink too.
I am not writing off the Eagles by any means. I just don’t think they can beat a team of destiny WITH that defense trying to play in a home Super Bowl. And just saying the Vikings ARE the Ice Dragon from GOT. We don’t know what that means exactly, but we know it isn’t good for the people who have the regular dragons (Tom Brady). Plus, if the Eagles DO win, I will just write it off as they have ice going on most of the time during the winter too.
So, enjoy the games this weekend. I know I will. Right after I step fully out of my Steelers box and observe for the sake of being a sports fan overall though. And maybe flipping to the UVA bball game as quickly as possible later. At least THEY are more concerned with Wake Forest right now and not Clemson, Duke, and the rest of their schedule.
I didn’t have a big list of links I wanted to share this round, but here are a couple:
Hey, Tomlin. Got some parting GOT quotes for you and your next season:
- “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
- “Bran thought about it.
- “When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.”
- “Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”
- “If I look back I am lost.”
- “Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”
And remember, Mike. You were warned that winter was coming and told it is now here. Note that. You don’t have ANY dragons.
Hope you enjoyed or are at least more informed. Will I blog again? That is a CLOWN question, bro. Peace.