Tuesday, November 30, 2010

JAMES HARRISON FINED AGAIN; NFL CONTINUES EFFORTS TO DEFANG STEELERS FOOTBALL

ABOVE: One of the largest "charitable contributors" in the city, the Steelers' James Harrison.


James Harrison was fined again by the NFL today to the tune of another $25,000. Each time I see Harrison fined, my hatred for Roger Goodell's new flag football league grows exponentially.

Think about it: Here's a guy who has had $125,000 literally stolen from him while on virtually every play where he rushes the quarterback he is held and held and held.

This league has developed such serious credibility issues with me that it has already begun to diminish my interest. Take away physical play from the NFL and you can have it as far as I'm concerned.

Count this wavering fan as being one who doesn't really enjoy seeing 50 passes thrown per game by prima donas who can't even be looked at let alone hit. Goodell is in the process of ruining the most popular sport in America...literally killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

If James Harrison continues to be fined as he currently is, I think we can expect to see him suspended one of these "fine" days...probably the first week of the playoffs.

If the league wants to be a flag football league, have the guys take off the pads, have them wear just a helmet and advertise it as such. But don't pass this watered-down garbage off as football. As a man who has watched football for 50 years, I'm about ready to adopt the NHL as my favorite sports league.

I never, ever thought that I could ever, ever, ever consider such a thought.

Congratulations to all of you geniuses on Madison Avenue and on behalf of Steeler fans everywhere, thanks for tearing down what we have loved all of our lives...

Bozos.

Monday, November 22, 2010

300th POST A HAPPIER OCCASION, OR IS IT?

STEELERS KILL HATED "RAYDAS"

Yes, today marks our landmark 300th post here at "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold", and thank goodness that we have something good to write about...or do we?

While the Steelers did kill the despised Oakland Raiders 35-3 as well as sullying their well-known "Commitment to Excellence" bullcrap theme, this wonderful victory was nonetheless troubling as this game featured a record breaking number of penalties against the Steelers as the zebras once again were in a penalty-calling frenzy.

ABOVE: Officials masquerading as zebras "get what they deserve" from fed-up lions. The officials yesterday would have been given the same treatment had they ventured into the stands.

Friends I almost hate to say this, but this already-watered-down version of the NFL that we're now seeing every weekend is only going to get progressively worse. The league is now in the process of legislating "gentleness" into tackling and defense so that none of their precious offensive players get hurt. In the meantime, they're calling a helmet-to-helmet penalty on Ryan Clark who hit a player in the middle of the back and then calling roughing the quarterback on poster-boy James Harrison for having the audacity to fall into a quarterback with a glancing blow. That second penalty also cost the Steelers a touchdown!

If you think this league isn't watered-down already, go watch a tape of football in the 70's. You'll wonder what game you're watching.

Of course now everyone is waiting breathlessly to see what penalty Richard Seymour gets for decking Big Ben after he'd thrown a touchdown pass. Please. Retribution in this case should have been left up to the players. You don't punch a team's quarterback and get away with it.

The NFL is eroding in front of our eyes.

This game of football will certainly continue long into the future, but just as people of my age will remember that head slaps were once legal, so too will younger people remember years from now how Hines Ward used to love to "earhole" unsuspecting opponents. This is no longer real football.

Until the NFL can develop recyclable football playing robots (as was shown in an episode of "The Jetsons" cartoon show back in the 60's) look for the NFL to continue to legislate more and more rules into the game not because they're so worried about the welfare of their players, but because they're worried about their millionaire investments.

All the while, the calling card that's always been the Pittsburgh Steelers...their toughness...is being pulled, one tooth at a time by this horrible commissioner, Roger Goodell. Note to Commissioner: It would be a bad idea to try tailgating in Pittsburgh as you did two weeks ago in Cincinnati. Pittsburghers boo Gary Bettman vociferously (who did nothing to ever hurt the Penguins). Can you imagine the reception they'd ever give to you at Heinz Field?

Monday, November 15, 2010

KICKED IN THE HEAD: STEELERS DESTROYED BY BRADY, PATRIOTS 39-26


ABOVE: A male zebra that was killed after it was kicked in the head by another male zebra. As expected, the whole incident revolved around a female zebra. The beneficiaries will be the local lion population

No, the zebras had nothing to do with this miserable excuse for a Steeler game, as from the opening kickoff, alarm bells could be heard going off all over Heinz Field and in the heads of Steeler fans around the country.

Where were the real Steelers? Were they abducted? Are they being held for ransom somewhere? Has the mayor been alerted?

When the Steelers suffer a team collapse of the magnitude of last night's national embarrassment, sorry to say it's usually symptomatic of other teams having watched the film and done their due diligence to exploit weaknesses.
Make no question about it, this team has many cracks now in its' armor.

Last night, not only did the Steelers defense come out looking extremely flat, the team also had to deal with an offensive line that is back to being extremely, well, "offensive". Held together seemingly by scotch tape Elmer's glue and baling wire, this line has been so ravaged by injury that it is hardly recognizable any more.

Just last week alone, the Steelers lost about 700 pounds of beef as Max Starks (injured reserve disc in neck) and Chris Kemoeatu (sprained knee) were lost. Add Willie Colon (lost to the i.r. before the season even started) and you have a team that is clearly not playing with its' best people in place.

Hines Ward was also knocked into "la la land" and it remains to be seen if he'll be able to return next week. Not having Ward on the field left a huge hole in the Steelers receiving corps. There were many dropped passes last night in situations, early in the game, where it would have made a difference.

Meanwhile, after playing a miserable first half, the Steelers were still only down, incredibly, 10-3. With New England having deferred to the second half, the Steelers would have to shut down Tom Brady and crew hopefully by making some good adjustments.

The Patriots came out and in a complete carbon copy of the game's opening, they marched the ball straight down the field... So much for halftime adjustments. Speaking of which, this was one game where I would have to give the Steelers coaching staff an "F" for this game plan. True, the coaches don't block or tackle, but in my mind, this whole game plan was wrong and these players were obviously not ready to play. That's the coaching staff's responsibility.

The Steelers never ran the ball effectively when just a week earlier, Cleveland had gashed the Patriots for 180 yards rushing by the Browns' Peyton Hillis. Rashard Mendenhall wasn't even on the field much early in the game. By possessing the ball, it also would have kept Tom Brady off the field and maybe allowed a few less chances for that leaky secondary to be further exposed.

But getting back to the defense, either 1) the Patriots have the greatest collection of blockers in history, 2) the Steelers didn't come to play, or 3) Dick LeBeau just blew it by not applying more pressure. Whatever the reason, the defense, as a result, looked very "pedestrian" at best and hardly ever exhibited their nasty side all night. Brady sat in a rocking chair all night as he picked them apart.

When NFL teams have games as bad as this one, they just leave you scratching your head. True, people have bad days and you're not got going to win them all, but this was a complete team collapse on a national stage against another 6-2 team. Who do the Steelers think they are, Pitt? Truthfully, they didn't even look like they belonged on the same field let alone sharing the same record. The final score, 39-26 wasn't nearly as close as it sounded.

Meanwhile, kicker, Jeff Reed, continued on his farewell tour from the Black and Gold by missing a chip shot field goal later in the game after the offense had failed to connect in the red zone. Reed, who said he didn't want to make excuses, proceeded to do just that, blaming "the worst turf in the league" on his miss. He then complained because fans at Heinz Field have apparently tired of his act. Reed currently trails the entire NFL in kicking accuracy. But as he said a week ago, "Kicking for touchbacks is overrated." With that kind of an attitude it's no wonder that he rarely has them.

ABOVE: Kicker, Jeff Reed, continues his season-long filibuster to find another team.

Next week, more trouble is on the way in the form of the bye-week-rested and suddenly-resurgent Oakland Raiders. The Raiders beat the Steelers last year in the midst of their mid-season swoon where they lost five in a row. They suddenly have a ton of injuries to deal with and players who for some unknown reason are playing without their usual intensity. This season could begin unraveling quickly and this next game worries me...a lot.