I’ve been thinking about all the problems facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. Make no mistake, the list is long and the problems are many while solutions are few and far between. This is a franchise in deep deep trouble even if they, and legions of fans who still wear Black and Gold colored glasses, refuse to acknowledge it. The Steelers ship has hit the iceberg – a physical iceberg, not the Penguins’ loveable mascot, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Todd-meister ran him over in his suped up El Camino – now the only question is who will be going down with the ship.
When I think about the Steelers sad state of affairs, I keep coming back to one word: ACCOUNTABILITY. The GM stinks, the coaching stinks, the players by and large stink but I can’t help but think things would at least be marginally better if the stinkers involved were held accountable. Guys take dumb penalties and are sent right back on the field. Coaches call insane plays in important situations and nobody owns up to it. And players who can’t play demonstrate their lack of ability week after week with little to no repercussions.
Take, for example, punter Brad Wing.
Look, nobody cares less about kickers and punters than me – I use the “Not Football Players” tag for posts about them for crying out loud – but it’s a perception thing. Once upon a time, Bill Cowher saw a fatso who couldn’t complete a wind sprint and cut his ass on the spot. That lardo happened to be the 29th overall pick in the draft, by the way. Today, a lowly punter can mess up time and time again and nothing happens. There are probably thirty guys on the street who could do the job the same or better than Wing – it’d be damn near impossible to be worse – so why is he still here?
In his weekly sham of a press conference, Mike Tomlin came ever so close to actually calling players out. He hinted Brice McCain is “under consideration for more playing time and rightfully…because of some of the inconsistent play of others.” In other words, this practice squad journeyman may get his shot because Cortez Allen and Willie Gay are both terrible. To his credit he didn’t mince words so much with Invisible Jason Worilds when he said, “We’re compensating him to be consistently impactful, and that’s what we’re searching for.”
The problem is, that’s all they are, words. McCain isn’t going to start over Allen because Kevin Colbert signed him to that insane contract and doing so would be admitting they both F’d up royally. And how do you “search for” somebody to play better? You either motivate him to play better or you find somebody else who can. They “searched for” more impact from another lazy fatass – LaMarr Woodley – for three seasons before ultimately cutting him. Luckily Worilds is only here under the Franchise tag so if he continues to coast on being a One Season Wonder, the team can let him go with no long term salary cap implications. The question, though, is why do guys consistently underachieve or simply go through the motions?
I’ll tell you why – because they don’t care. Mike Tomlin is an obnoxious blowhard who only cares about seeing his buddies do well and doesn’t concern himself with little things like discipline or accountability. He, with a huge assist from Colbert and meddlesome owner Art Rooney II, have run this team into the ground. And the sad part is there is precious little they can do to right the ship in the near future. If I was Ben Roethlisberger, I’d ask to be traded. Surely his talents would be better used on a team like the Cardinals, coached by a guy in Bruce Arians who is about a billion times smarter than the clueless putz we have running our sideline. Why should he waste the final years of his career with an organization that has literally no clue how to build a winner?
I’m not sure how much more he can stand. For that matter, I’m not sure how much more Steeler Nation should stand either. A time for reckoning is coming. Let’s hope we don’t have to hit true rock bottom first.