Sigh. Gasp. Scream.
Before a national audience and despite the desperate attempts by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to convince viewers it was exciting, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick performed an extraordinarily clinical and demoralizing dismantling of the entire Steelers organization in a 33-3 drubbing.
You had to feel sorry for New England Patriots fans who invested so much of their family fortune to come to a home game where they were expecting an actual football game to be played.
It was that humiliating. It was that boring for all football fans.
The smack down left Steelers Nation in the unenviable position of having their tail firmly between their legs in the presence of the Patriots fans for the remainder of the year.
This leaves the Spin with the miserable task of locking arms with the Steelers Public Relations department to somehow find a diamond in this ginormous steaming pile of Black and Gold Triceratops dropping.
We’ll have to adopt the strategy of Avis Rental Cars years ago when they decided it was hopeless to overcome the number one competitor Hertz. They launched one of the most powerful campaigns in the history of advertising around the only consolation they could muster in their status of being perpetually in second place.
And, that was, “We Try Harder.”
So…somehow, climbing out my deepest, darkest cave of depression…let’s get it Spinning.
The Big Reveal
Teams that fail to make the playoffs typically don’t enjoy ten months to game plan and prepare for their opening confrontation against their most difficult rivals. Usually, the owners of these teams are busy posting on coaching help wanted sites and are creating distractions with the reshuffling of their front office.
This can eat up months and months of much-needed preparation.
Not the Steelers. No, the Steelers Way is consistency. Commitment to sticking with what you got. It’s what makes franchises great, right?
At least that’s what we hear during every stinking national broadcast when they post the graphic showing how Pittsburgh had three head coaches since 1969, the same year when men were first being placed on the moon.
Which all means, that this group of Pittsburgh Steelers coaches had a solid nine months to put together their master plan for the Patriots.
In fact, they even had the benefit of three more games of film on New England as the Bostonians went all of the way, while they watched from their home couches.
So…ready for the big reveal? The 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers master game plan?
Drum roll. Jugglers of flaming torches on unicycles. Dancing elephants.
Wait…wait. This is all you got?
And that hard truth is why the loss to the Patriots is so disheartening…and revealing.
The Season Before Us
But, they say. “It’s just game one. We have a whole season before us.”
And besides…We Try Harder.
So, how does this team try harder to give Steelers Nation some hope that we can achieve greater things than coming in second in the AFC…at best…again?
It won’t be easy.
And, then there are the Kansas City Chiefs who look to be even stronger than they were last year. Don’t forget that Pittsburgh no longer has a monopoly on quarterback play in the AFC North. Making it out of our own division will be a major challenge.
Yet. Even Mike Tomlin’s staunchest detractors will have to concede a point proven over and over again during his career.
The Steelers will bounce back. They’ll end with a competitive record. We’ll at least have a strong run at making it to the playoffs and may even win a game or two once there.
But, please. Cut the excuses, coaches. Enough with complaining about perfectly legal rub routes. You got whooped in every way.
Back to the drawing board. And, draw something better. Much, much better.
Would Have Looked Good In Black And Gold
In many ways, the Steelers never recovered from the retirement of Hines Ward.
I mean, after all, were we ever a “Young Money” type of football team? Is it any wonder that players like Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown would set sail for other oceans and that Le’Veon Bell would want more of the Big City, Big Lights and big paychecks of New York?
For those who forgot, the Steelers struggled for years in the ‘90s looking for receivers who could actually get open, and once doing so, would actually catch the ball.
Ward was a revelation. He always got open when needed, always caught the ball, and always came through with the big play.
And, sometimes that big play was shellacking an opposing linebacker.
He was as Pittsburgh of a receiver as we’ve ever had. And that includes Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.
Which is why it’s a shame he’ll have a difficult path making it into his deserved spot in the Hall of Fame. This is especially true now that Troy Palamalu will be attracting the prime Steelers votes.
It will also be a shame to watch the exciting rookie D.K. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks. Big, strong, fast and tough.
He would have looked good in Black and Gold.
Junior Varsity Time
As difficult as it is to do, the only productive thing the Steelers and all of Steelers Nation can do is block the memory of week one from their minds.
The daunting reality is the Pittsburgh Steelers can’t compete in an away game against Brady in New England. Thems the plain facts.
Maybe the Patriots organization does have all of the visiting headphones bugged. Perhaps, the inflation of the footballs are corrupt.
Or…just maybe…the coaching is vastly, vastly superior.
Regardless, the Steelers can compete against everyone outside of New England in New England, and that journey begins Sunday.
In many ways, the stories of the Seattle Seahawks and the Steelers are parallel. The Seahawks were bumped off of their path of greatness by the Patriots…and by one of the worst coaching calls in Super Bowl history.
These are two quality teams, with strong…yes, strong…head coaches in a challenging time of their careers. There are good, high character players on both sides of the field. Many of them are young with their career stories just unfolding.
Time to hit the reset button. Let’s just shake it off and get ready to enjoy an excellent game.
How’s that for a Spin?