Roll up Steelers Nation. Roll up for the Magical Mystery Tour. It’s hoping to take you away.
The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New Orleans Saints in what’s being promoted as a potential Super Bowl preview and how it will turn out is anyone’s guess.
In fact, it’s a mystery. A Magical Mystery Tour.
A couple of weeks back, after the Steelers dropped their third in a row to a dismal Oakland Raiders opponent, many were understandably questioning exactly how bright the futures were of Mike Tomlin and his besieged staff.
Then, lo and behold, the coaches pulled out their best rabbit of the year out of their hat and dispatched of the New England Patriots by a score of 17-10.
So, what will Tomlin and his players be putting under the trees of Steelers fans this Christmas? It’s a mystery. A Magical Mystery Tour.
And with this doubt and uncertainty, and remarkable lack of consistency, the Steelers will venture into The Big Easy, and take on one of the greatest quarterbacks in history in Drew Brees as he leads his 12-2 New Orleans Saints.
Let the music play. It’s All That Jazz.
What will be the outcome in this monumental game for Pittsburgh be when the Saints come marching in on the field?
Give us a backbeat, will ya? It’s time to riff it with a Spin.
Midweek, last week, the Steelers coaching staff’s heads were spinning at the question, “How are you going to stop Tom Brady?”
Their answer was, “We’re still looking for answers.”
Really? Cause the game is this Sunday. That’s uh…just a few days away.
Then, by some strange coincidence, Jim Herrmann shows up as an “observer” at Steelers practices and a game winning defensive game plan is hatched.
We’re told by Tomlin, not to read anything into Herrmann’s visit, but when I hear that from the front office or coaches I usually rush to grab my reading glasses.
Did Herrmann, who had experience defeating the New England Patriots as a member of the New York Giants Super Bowl winning coaching staff, have any helpful suggestions?
I’m guessing “Yes”.
Because for the first time in many games against the Patriots the Steelers tried something they have shockingly been resistant to do.
They double-teamed Rob Gronkowski.
That’s the same advice Steelers fans have been screaming through their televisions and from their stadium seats for years.
Thank you Jim. If you don’t mind, could you hang out in Pittsburgh for a few more weeks? You know. Just to observe.
Before We Start Reading Our Own Headlines
So, have the Steelers turned their season around? Is the slump behind us? Now that we conquered the dreaded New England Patriots is our path clear for a run for the roses?
Not so fast.
The Patriots are fielding one of their weakest teams in years. It’s clear Gronk isn’t at full Gronkiness and after all of the wear he’s taken through the years he may never again be that player.
At some point, Tom Brady’s TB12 Method is not going to be enough to fend off Father Time.
And…we should be reminded, Brady was one short completion away from tying up the game.
Let’s be honest. Do you feel much better about having to go to New England in a few weeks in the playoffs after Bill Belichick does a little film study?
Yes, the win against the Patriots was a BIG win for the Steelers.
But, it wasn’t a telling win. We really don’t know that much more about this team.
That’s this game against the Saints. Are the Steelers out of their funk and back into the conversation as true contenders?
The answer will reveal itself after a day of staring Brees in the eyes.
I’m beginning to believe it’s a requirement in order to get an NFL grade press pass to write something incredibly stupid before a national audience.
This week’s amazing abuse of ink and paper came in the form of an article scribed by Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated. This was when he tried to argue that the Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan had a point in saying Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t very worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.
After making such a knucklehead claim, Klemko went on to sink further in the muck of nonsensical blather and said Roethlisberger was the “Dave Krieg” of his time.
C’mon Klemko. Seriously? Did you post this story after or during the SI Christmas party?
He goes on to support this case by spewing out statistics, which, of course, is what lazy writers use when they don’t actually watch a player play.
He cites Roethlisberger’s “high absorption rate of sacks” as one of the many reasons why Big Ben shouldn’t ever be fitted for a yellow jacket.
No, sir. That’s exactly WHY he belongs. Anyone who watched Big Ben’s first half of his career knows he acquired his formidable stats without the luxury of having players capable of blocking for him.
No one knows the imperfections of Ben Roethlisberger better than his fans. Yes, he has many flaws as a player.
But, to actually say he isn’t among the best of his generation, and worse, he’s just a Dave Krieg clone, should be disqualifying for a job as a journalist.
And by the way, I write dumb stuff all of the time. Please send me my All Access NFL Press Credentials in time for Christmas.
The Only One
I resisted playing Fantasy Football for years and years because I didn’t want to compromise my pure, unfiltered admiration of the Steelers.
I knew, if I was compensated by glory and my own ego for rooting for players not wearing a Steelers uniform, it would complicate my focus on being a card carrying certified Steelers fan.
And the truth is, it has. There are times when I find myself cheering on the Steelers to score, but hoping that it’s not a Big Ben touchdown pass, and rather a James Conner run that wins the game.
Fantasy Football corrupts the best of us fans.
Even with this aside, there is one player in the National Football League who I simply find it difficult to hope he fails. That’s Drew Brees.
In my opinion, he’s one of the best the NFL has to offer. Here is an undersized guy, who suffered a career threatening injury and yet has overcome all of this to be one of the greatest ever at his position, and one of the finest leaders of his team and community.
And he’s beautiful to watch play. The way he dissects a defense is so effortless and graceful.
Can this Steelers defense stop him?
The answer is…Big Ben and the offense better have a big day.
Bourbon Street Blues
This is it. Make no mistake where you are. Or who you are.
The Magical Mystery Tour stops here. The defining moment of the season is upon us. The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the New Orleans Saints.
If Pittsburgh pulls this one off, after just sending away Brady and Belichick in tears, then they are legit.
If not? The Steelers won’t necessarily be eliminated. The Baltimore Ravens have a difficult game against the Los Angeles Chargers. So there’s hope regardless.
But it’s faded hope. Not the fuel of champions.
Nah…they got it win it. With some JuJu, some AB and all that jazz.