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 #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 #9 (8/10/15): The Not Ready for Primetime Players

erome-bettis-steelers-hall-of-fame

We leave aside the noble, useful, stated purpose of preseason football for a moment, which is to allow a venue through which teams can effectively simulate, or at least approximate, NFL game speed and coaches have an extended opportunity to evaluate young talent in a crucible of combat ostensibly more competitive than training camp drills would be. We do this because the NFL and its member clubs comprise a cut-throat business cartel that would not only probably sell its soul for an extra 30 seconds of prime time ad revenue, it doubtless has many times over. Televised preseason football (gulp) springs from a modified carnival barker/snake oil salesman’s mentality, with the exception that instead of convincing Joe and Jill Q. American that their ho-hum lives are sadly and shoddily incomplete without the inclusion of this revolutionary new product, it is convincing folks with an authentic hole in their lives that the clearly substandard product being peddled is, in fact, a 1:1 replacement for it. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #9 (8/10/15): The Not Ready for Primetime Players”

Steelers Thoughts #3 (7/30/14): Are we there yet?

locker

Steelers Training Camp is officially underway in beautiful Latrobe, PA, though today is an off day for the team. Yesterday, the boys practiced in pads for the first time this year, and, though Mike Tomlin has in his press briefings kept things in strict perspective and been typically (and, I might add, properly) circumspect about praising anybody, there is nevertheless lots to talk about, both on and off the field. The air is thick with possibility, which, of course, is so much fuel to the fires of speculation. Soon enough, they’ll be raging, but I’ll do my best to keep this piece comparatively breezy in feel. There is, of course, absolutely no news to be found here, but this is just too fun a time of year for fans for it to go wholly unremarked upon. So, without further ado, my quick takes on some recent Steeler headlines, plus other tidbits. Mmmm…training camp! Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #3 (7/30/14): Are we there yet?”

Steelers Thoughts #2 (5/9/14): Draft, Punk…

airliner

Quite a bit to chew on and mull over following a wild and woolly first round of the NFL draft that saw the Cleveland Browns careening all over the board, trading down then back up, twice, that saw three teams select their presumed QBs of the future, that saw ESPN trot out a group of on air talent that was the human equivalent of a black hole from which only bottomless Johnny Manziel speculation could escape, and then dutifully cut to a reaction shot from Johnny Football every time a pick happened to bypass him (as 21 did) or a commercial break dramatically ended. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #2 (5/9/14): Draft, Punk…”