Steelers Thoughts #16 (7/19/18): The Ring of Distant Bells

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

I can, thankfully, only imagine the tedium with which dedicated sports beat reporters fill their offseasons. Freed from the strictures of working at a more traditional, or even outwardly identifiable, sports website, I wile away those same days in a barely distracted haze, neither slave to their all-consuming 24-hour news cycles nor subject to their unquenchable thirst for reckless speculation and calorie-free commentary. At certain points of the journey, however, as forks in the road come into view, I can still rouse myself and adopt more or less the same passionate guise in week three of July that I’ll wear in week ten of the regular season. As the Steelers zero in on the commencement of another training camp in picturesque Latrobe, Pennsylvania, their biggest lingering distraction has finally been sorted out, for better or worse Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #16 (7/19/18): The Ring of Distant Bells”

Steelers Thoughts #14 (1/24/17): Kryptonite Burns/Red Sun Poisoning

Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots

After a charmed, inspiring, dependably hardscrabble nine-game winning streak that might as well have paired with Oscar-winning Jerry Goldsmith accompaniment and protective detail from a coterie of animated Disney mice, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ gilded royal coach turned back into a pumpkin Sunday night in the manner and place it has so many times over the years, against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Before a justifiably frenzied crowd of 66,000 jolly Affleckian sub-townies, Boston chowderheads, Revolutionary War reenactors, and other loveable regional stereotypes, the Steelers’ resurgent, frankly overachieving defense picked an auspicious occasion and opponent on/against which to revert to general ineffectiveness, and its offense could not make up the difference. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #14 (1/24/17): Kryptonite Burns/Red Sun Poisoning”

Steelers Thoughts #13 (3/23/16): Runaway Baggage Carousel!

coaches

Comedy gold is minable from all corners of the internet at any given time. For instance, I got a chuckle yesterday upon closer inspection of a picture taken Monday at the ongoing NFL Owner’s Meetings in Boca Raton, which assembled 7/8 of the league’s current head coaching fraternity into a canned moment suitable to be immortalized and treasured just shy of forever. I’m ashamed to admit I only fully recognized thirteen of the twenty-eight commandantes in this class picture, including three from the Steelers’ home division*. Jeff Fisher and John Fox canoodled like (only) momentarily interrupted drinking buddies. Rex Ryan looked like he desperately wanted to sell you something from the Bills’ Pro Shop. Bruce Arians looked like he was late for his tee time. Ron Rivera looked like a guy whose team just went to the Super Bowl, though, oddly enough, not as much as did beaming Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, whose team I’m utterly, earthshakingly certain did not. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #13 (3/23/16): Runaway Baggage Carousel!”

Steelers Thoughts #10 (9/28/15): (Next) Man Up

steelers

Though I am a fairly serious sports fan, DAE as a blog treats sports structurally as a sideline rather than headline topic, and only covers two in earnest: boxing* and professional football. The former is built on the strength of individual fighters and individual events, with no true off-season to speak of, whereas the latter is mostly off-season, building to a sustained five-month crescendo of weekly hostilities that dominates each fall. Football, by turns a joyous and vicious game – often in the course of the same sixty minutes – works on such a tight, unforgiving schedule, with every game precious and important in its own right, that its fans have no choice but full commitment from the moment the first whistle is blown. I’ve often worried that doing any real justice to pro football on a non-dedicated blog would be a fool’s errand, and making a cursory review of the nine official editions of “Steelers Thoughts” so far makes me feel plenty foolish indeed. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #10 (9/28/15): (Next) Man Up”

Steelers Thoughts #6 (12/1/14): Garbage Time

steely

The various quirks and conventions of this blog have taken root and grown in a highly organic, practically accidental way. Because I was particularly taken with a certain swatch of dialogue and decided, apropos of nothing, to quote it at the beginning of my first ever movie review – for the 2013 Superman reboot Man of Steel – the introductory dialogue capture went on to become a feature of my subsequent reviews. Because I happened to be in a serious, self-reflective and analytical headspace, with no traditional subject matter in mind, when the time came to write the blog’s twenty-fifth post, it became an instant (and self-evident) tradition for each twenty-fifth post to focus on personal matters rather than my normal geek and pop culture ephemera. I knew from the moment that I launched DAE that I would periodically write about the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have been my unquestioned favorite sports team since I first “discovered” them at the age of five. I always figured that I would write whenever the spirit moved me, although in my heartiest moments I still never imagined I could stomach analyzing sixteen games per year, not including playoffs. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #6 (12/1/14): Garbage Time”

Steelers Thoughts #4 (9/29/14): Duck! Rabbit! Duck!

Steelers_team

I have a few points to make about yesterday’s last minute Steelers loss to the Buccaneers, and no wish to belabor any of them. Sixteen hours later, the sting is still fresh and the taste still bitter. It was one of the most frustrating losses in my recent memory, or, at any rate, has temporarily crowded out all other contenders from my personal shortlist. I certainly have no desire to detract from the performance of Tampa Bay, who were game, opportunistic, resilient, and tenacious in victory. Though Tampa played well enough to win, I also don’t think it’s homerism to suggest that, by most objective measures, the Steelers on the whole outplayed them. They moved the ball, often with ease, and for much of the game held close to a threefold advantage on Tampa in terms of yards gained. The Bucs parlayed a crippling turnover into an early lead but then seemed to succumb to our offensive pressure and relative defensive competence, before the Steelers, who have a well-established recent history of playing down to lesser competition, shot themselves in the foot late, taking it off the gas in the process. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #4 (9/29/14): Duck! Rabbit! Duck!”

Steelers Thoughts #1 (1/24/14): Vexing and Vortexing

o-line

The hiring of recently deposed Tennessee Titans head coach and Hall of Fame Houston Oilers guard Mike Munchak as the Steelers’ new Offensive Line coach predictably has the hearts and daydreams of both our fanbase and local journalists all aflutter. I’m right there with them. Grabbing one of the best linemen in NFL history, with years of proven experience (and results) as first a line then a head coach? Score! He’s a local guy who wants to be in the ‘Burgh and brings instant unspoken authority and credibility to a line that is already trending up, despite having had more members than Spinal Tap in the last five years (including four centers in 2013). Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #1 (1/24/14): Vexing and Vortexing”