Welcome to F-bomb week here at Total Steelers. The video above comes from the aftermath of the AFC Championship game where the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Indianapolis Colts (and future 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh) to punch a ticket to their first Super Bowl in fifteen years. Yes, that’s Bill Cowher you see at the beginning of the clip. It saddens me when shortsighted Steeler fans try to argue how Mike Tomlin is such a better coach than the Chin “because he’s won two AFC Championship games” as if the two Cowher won (in addition to appearing in four others) somehow don’t count. When Tomlin wins one with a quarterback comparable to Neil Freakin’ O’Donnell, then we’ll talk.
Greg Lloyd was a bad bad man. As the Steel Dynasty of the 70s slowly faded away, the Black and Gold maintained their tradition of superior linebacking into the 80s, most notably Mike Merriwether and David Little. But it wasn’t until Lloyd became a permanent member of the starting line-up in 1989 (not coincidentally, Chuck Noll’s final playoff team) that the Steelers D regained the ferocious reputation the Steel Curtain had originated a decade prior. Harbaugh famously told an interviewer he wasn’t afraid of anything until he played against Greg Lloyd.
Lloyd had a brief but tumultuous career. An undersized linebacker (6-2 225 pounds), he made five Pro Bowls and was named Defensive Player of the Year in his nine year career by doing whatever it took to succeed. Many times, that included venturing into those grey areas of doing things which weren’t exactly legal. His vicious style of play was so controversial, even then NFL analyst Joe Namath was moved to pronounce him a dirty player. This prompted Lloyd to retort, “Joe Namath can kiss my ass.”
These criticisms did nothing to endear Lloyd to the media. Which was just as well since Lloyd hated the media with equal passion. Perhaps taking a cue from his head coach, Lloyd was often surly and uncooperative. When he did deign to talk to the ink-stained peons, he would often be short with his answers or openly hostile. In short, Greg Lloyd hated everything and everybody, especially if it wore an opposing jersey and stepped behind center.
Lloyd recently returned to Pittsburgh for a charity golf event. Time has evidently softened him a bit as he now seems more than willing to speak to the media types. At the event, the reporter made the mistake of asking him about Roger Goodell and the NFL’s recent crusade to punish players (particularly those wearing Black and Gold) who want to play football as it was meant to be played. The resulting interview, which you can download by clicking here, was vintage Lloyd.
Some choice snippets include:
If the rule says, here’s what I can’t do, I don’t care who you are if you’re a kid or a grownup, you’re going to push the limit. You’re going to push it as far as you can, without going over that limit. And then it’s the call of those guys in black and white out there and not some czar who sits on top of a hill and says I am Thor and I am gonna rain down hell on you if you do this.
Awesome quote. Except Goodell is a ginger, not a blond. And he’s a dictator, not a czar.
I think the league has to let the guys play the game. We put referees out on the field for a reason — they control the game. If there’s no flag thrown, let it go. … because what they do is go back and look at film, and slow it down, and the game’s not played like that …
But slowing plays down to 1/100 of a second and fining Steelers for inadvertently brushing a quarterback’s helmet is the Ginger Dictator’s favorite hobby!
… You cant tell me that [when] I go take on a running back and get ready to hit him, he ducks his head or I go to hit a quarterback and as soon as I get there, he ducks his head — is that my fault? But they’re penalizing guys for it. Its not my fault. If he sees me coming, he does what he’s going to do — little pussy get down. He’s a pussy.
We’re looking at you, Mohammad Massaquoi.
But the rules have gotten to the point to where its like, we’ll just put a red jersey on [the quarterback] put him in a tutu and let him run around and do what the hell they want to do. The game is totally different now. It’s just so different now than when I played.
For the record, Tom Brady is on track for a 7,520-yard, 56 touchdown season. It’s gotten to the point guys like Chad Henne and Ryan Fitzpatrick can put up Marino-esque numbers and barely make headlines. A green rookie like Cam Newton is a quarter of the way to a 4,000 yard season after two games. Anybody else think all the fines and rule tweaks and penalizing of defensive players hasn’t affected the game?
You don’t want the game to be decided by a guy in a black and white shirt, so you definitely don’t want it to be decided by some guy in a booth somewhere. Or some guy sitting behind a desk who can’t do what I do …
Hear that, Ginger? Put on some pad and knock heads with a big fat smelly offensive lineman for twenty-five minutes before you fine someone.
The game is getting soft. Its getting softer.
I don’t know if I’d call Silverback and Mister Woodley soft but the game has certainly lost its edge. I don’t wish to see anyone crippled but at the same time football is supposed to be football. If I wanted to watch little guys run up and down the field with only token resistance, I’d watch ArenaBall or Canadian Football. Large men colliding at high speeds is what made the NFL this country’s national obsession. Unfortunately, it would seem the man in charge has decided to remake the game into a more gentrified activity. Judging by the outrageous offensive outputs we’ve already seen this season, it appears he’s succeeded. Loathe as I am to be that crusty old codger who sits in his Laz-E-Boy and begins sentences with “In my day…” I fear we’re at the cusp of an era when 300 yard passing games or 34-31 shootouts become commonplace. And I don’t know if I like it.
We know how Greg Lloyd feels…
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