The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl Champions. Pardon me while I empty out my vomit bucket.
Okay, where were we? Oh, right. The unthinkable has happened. The Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. If Steeler Nation thought that team of thugs and loudmouths were insufferable before, we’re never going to hear the end of it now.
To add insult to injury, Joe Flacco was named Super Bowl MVP. For those scoring at home, Tyler Palko’s back-up now has more SB MVPs than Ben Roethlisberger. Oh it was well deserved as Bert played the game of his life. I just hope everybody is prepared when Flacco is ranked equal to or above Ben on those “Best Quarterbacks in the NFL” lists we’re inundated with every season.
Then again, they are basically tied with one championship apiece. Technically, Ben has two but Antwaan Randle El accomplished more with one pass than Ben did during the rest of the Seattle game. And Flacco is only now reaching his prime while Ben’s skills are in decline.
Yesterday’s win capped off perhaps the luckiest run by any team in recent memory. Going into the final month of the season, the Ratbirds were in full free fall when Charlie Batch engineered a win for the ages. People forget that Baltimore backed into clinching their division as with decent quarterbacking and decent coaching, the Steelers could have overtaken them. Baltimore had an easy first round playoff game against the overmatched Colts then should have lost to the Broncos if not for a blown coverage that led to the game tying TD followed by yet another choke job by Pey-Pey in OT. Sure every championship run requires a little luck (Ben making The Tackle on Roman Harper) but the Ravens seemingly had a rabbit’s foot up their ass all through this post-season.
That luck held up through the final whistle of last night’s game. Flacco underthrows his receiver by three yards but Jacoby Jones is so wide open he has time to come back (I wonder if Mike Wallace ever thought about trying that?) for what will go down as a 55 yard TD bomb. The Niners fall asleep on the second half kick-off and gift Baltimore a 108 yard return TD. After a power outage which I’m sure Roger Goodell is already planning on fining James Harrison for, San Fran staged an epic comeback which fell short when Michael Crabtree got mugged on 4th and goal but the refs kept their hankies in their pockets.
Anyway, the Ravens are your 2012 NFL champions. I promised silver linings so here are two. First, since San Francisco lost, your Pittsburgh Steelers are still the only NFL franchise with six Lombardi Trophies. And second, last night was the final time we’ll ever have to see Ray Lewis in an NFL uniform. If karma is a really a thing that exists, hopefully one day we will see him in a bright orange jump suit as karmic justice for the murder he already got away with (and kudos to Phil Simms for having the balls to mention that during the telecast instead of just repeating the company line).
Final lining? Um, the Pittsburgh Pirates report to Spring Training in 10 days.
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Super Bowl XLVII has finally been set. And for fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you couldn’t pick a worse match-up if you tried. Ordinarily we can find at least one team with which to align our rooting interests. When the Baltimore Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers for the championship in two weeks, the only satisfying outcome would be an asteroid annihilating the Superdome.
The Niners are probably the lesser of two evils. They’ve never done anything directly to the Steelers. They do, however, possess five Lombardi Trophies. Should they win, the Black and Gold would no longer sit alone atop the NFL hierarchy as the only franchise with six championships. And considering the Niners have a fairly young roster while the Steelers are old and in decline, they’d be a whole lot better bet to climb the “Stairway to Seven” before we do.
(As an side, isn’t it crazy that out of 47 Super Bowls, the Niners and Steelers have combined to appear in 13, over a full quarter of them, yet have never faced each other? Damn you, Tim McKyer!)
On the other side, we have the Baltimore Ravens. I don’t have to bother explaining why Steeler fans would rather have their pubic hair plucked out by a pair of rusty pliers than see the Ratbirds win the Super Bowl. It’s bad enough we’ll have to spend the next two weeks hearing what a great guy murdering thug Ray Lewis is, are we really ready for Joe Flacco to be considered an elite quarterback? Even worse, if he plays even remotely decent the pain will continue well into next season as talking heads immediately start ranking him ahead of Ben Roethlisberger despite 90% of his offense being checkdowns to tight ends and Ray Rice.
Can Steeler Nation live in a world where Tyler Palko‘s back-up is considered one of the NFL’s best?
The cherry on top of this shit sandwich is both teams are coached by a Harbaugh. The Niners’ Harbaugh si clearly the bigger asshole what with his childish theatrics after every minor setback although choosing between them is kinda like choosing between the best venereal disease. There are no winners here. We all lose.
Pray for the asteroid.
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Christmas will soon be here! The time of year for cheer, happiness, good will towards men…
The time of year when you swim through hordes of over-perfumed or hygiene unfriendly shoppers to spend money on overpriced junk. Let’s not forget my favorite part of the Holiday season, the AIRING OF GRIEVANCES!!
Am I the only one who fumbled my cheer and recovered a pigskin of disappointment?
Last year, my fiancé spent hours locating and framing two poster-sized pictures for me. Be jealous. One print is of the USX Tower under construction in 1968, with my late grandfather-father almost visible as a foreman forging a symbol of the Steel City. The other is of Mike Tomlin, donning Black and Gold gortex as he guides our Pittsburgh Steelers through a playoff win en-route to a Lombardi Trophy in 2008. My friends “watch” the Steelers with me whenever they have a national game.
Anyway, allow me to air my grievances….
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You knew it wasn’t going to be the Pittsburgh Steelers night last night. When the Four Letter came back from commercial to reveal the San Francisco 49ers dilapidated old stadium was bathed in darkness, you knew it wouldn’t be our night. Chris Berman and his gaggle of idiots showing their calm level-headed journalistic skills by repeatedly comparing a blown fuse to both a catastrophic earthquake and 9/11 was almost as torturous as the 20-3 ass-kicking the Niners meted out to the Steelers. Ryan Clark later told the media he felt the blackout was orchestrated by Niners management to illustrate their need for a new stadium.
And people think Steeler fans are paranoid…
Anyway, you knew it wouldn’t be the Steelers night when they took the opening kickoff, drove right down the field, then had the drive end on a Ben Roethlisberger interception. Ben would be intercepted on the Steelers’ next drive, too. He’d add another later in the game and throw in a lost fumble for good measure. I’m not going to criticize Big Ben for playing an absolutely atrocious game (“I was the 49ers best player,” he’d later say) because 29 other quarterbacks wouldn’t have even bothered suiting up last night. He tried to tough it out when it was clear he had absolutely nothing in the tank. It doesn’t take a videotape nerd like Ron Jaworski to see Ben wasn’t stepping into throws leading to the ball sailing all over the place.
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Santa Claus didn’t have a chance to make his list nor check it twice before he started out handing out gifts. But we know what all the good boys and girls are wearing this year: Black and Gold.
A wild and wacky weekend of NFL action has placed the fate of the Pittsburgh Steelers in their own hands. Earlier in the afternoon, the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans both lost, clinching a playoff spot for the boys from the ‘Burgh. Then, in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football (cue Faith Hill in S&M gear), the Baltimore Ravens went out to San Diego and crapped the bed so epically even obnoxious ass-kisser Cris Collinsworth turned on the team about halfway through. If I were the Ratbirds, I would request all future opponents wear black and gold because that seems to be the only time they bother showing up.
With the Ravens’ loss, the Steelers currently sit atop the AFC North. If the Steelers win out, they would not only win the division and gain an all-important first round bye, they’d also be the AFC’s top seed, ensuring home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Of course, we’re assuming Baltimore doesn’t have any more brainfarts. While they face the Browns on Christmas Eve, they wrap up with the Bengals, who could be fighting for a playoff spot on the final weekend.
Regardless, things couldn’t have shaken out more perfectly for the Steelers. Destiny is finally in their grasp. With their final two games against the dreadful Rams and Browns, tonight’s match-up against the San Francisco 49ers takes on monumental importance. If they can get out San Fran with a W, the rest of the season should fall into place.
In addition to all these wonderful toys, the Steelers also found a Big Ben under their tree. Yes, Ben Roethlisberger reportedly showed “much improved” mobility at practice and it appears he’s going to start tonight. I know I said in my game preview that the injury risk wasn’t worth it but that was then, this is now. The Ravens boxed it up, put a nice big bow on top, and placed it under the tree, all that’s left is for the Steelers to unwrap their gift.
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The NFL is weird. When schedules are announced over the summer, every fan looks at their team’s slate and begins to mentally check off wins and losses. Of course, it NEVER plays out as we expect. The baseball season lasts like six months, the hockey and basketball seasons last nearly as long. Football season is the shortest of the four major sports but so many twists and turns occur over sixteen games that it feels a lot longer.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers were scheduled to face the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football back in August, I’m sure most members of Steeler Nation had that penciled in as an easy W. The Niners were a miserable 6-10 last year and starting a new regime under college coaching wunderkind Jim Harbaugh. The lockout prevented them from bringing in a new quarterback so they were stuck with former first overall pick Alex Smith, who looked like an epic bust. Even if the trip out to the West Coast has historically been tough, this was still a game the Steelers should win.
Fast forward four months later. The Niners are one of the surprise teams of the year, having already clinched their first NFC West title in over a decade. Harbaugh is probably going to be coach of the year. Meanwhile, the Steelers are facing them at the worst possible time. Their superstar quarterback just suffered a horrific ankle injury while their superstar linebacker is suspended for one game. Mix in the fact both teams are in a playoff scramble for seeding position and you have a recipe for disaster.
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As we await word whether the NFL Appeals Committee will do the right thing by lifting the suspension of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, let us turn our attention to other concerns. Namely, this week’s big game against the NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers. When the ball is kicked off on Monday night, it will be the second time this year the Black and Gold have faced a member of the Harbaugh family. John, as we well know, is coach of the hated Baltimore Ravens. His brother, Jim, is the mastermind behind the Niners’ unexpected resurgence.
The Brothers Harbaugh have one thing in common: They’re both colossal dicks.
For weeks now, some of you may have noticed sarcastic references to “Gatorade showers” in my posts. For those not in on the joke, what I’m referring to is the Ratbirds dousing their coach with the foul-tasting sports drink after they swept the season series with the Steelers. I’ve watched football a long time and I’d be hard pressed to recall a more ridiculous post-game display. Teams that clinch their first playoff berth in decades shower their coach with Gatorade. Teams that just won the Lombardi Trophy shower their coach with Gatorade. Accomplishing the pedestrian feat of beating your division rival a whopping twice in a row does not merit such a spectacle.
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For those expecting our regularly featured Sound-Off, unforeseen circumstances have conspired against Hennessy so you get 20% more Chris this week! I also waited and waited before doing this update hoping to hear the results of James Harrison‘s appeal of his unjust one game suspension but the NFL Review Committee moves about as swiftly as the US Congress. What’s interesting about that per the new CBA, all appeals are now handled by a member of the NFLPA (to prevent the previous Pythonesque situation where you appealed to your own executioner). Harrison drew former Chargers, Jets, and Bills defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell. So if anybody would understand the difficulties inherent in playing defense, it should be Coach Cottrell.
Stand up for one of your own, Ted.
In the meantime, let’s quickly discuss the Pittsburgh Steelers other ongoing controversy, the condition of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The media is reporting he has not practiced at all this week. That’s normally a bad sign but Ben has made starts without logging any practice time in the past. Normally, Friday is the tell-tale practice day as the guys who are expected to play either go on Friday or they don’t play. However, with the Steelers not playing until Monday night, they may push the schedule ahead a day for the walking wounded.
The Post-Gazette, behind their idiotic pay window you’d have to be pretty desperate to actually pay for, is reporting Ben is getting a brace made for his ankle. No doubt to match the splint he already has for his broken thumb. This reminds me of Star Wars when Luke gets his hand chopped off by his father (and you thought Marv Marinovich was tough on his son) and has it replaced by a robotic prosthesis. As Obi-Wan would later say, “He’s more machine now than man.”
Ben is definitely a machine. An ass-kicking, touchdown throwing, tackler-shrugging machine.
As a contingency plan, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon have been sharing snaps at quarterback in Ben’s absence. Batch assumes he’ll start if Ben cannot go but, off what I saw last week, I would have a short leash if I were Mike Tomlin. Dix didn’t impress in training camp and was mediocre at best last year during his short audition as starter while Ben was serving his own unjust suspension. However, I’m not sure Batch has the mobility to play the Steelers’ style of offense (ie: run around like a maniac and make plays). Dixon doesn’t have Ben’s passing skill although he definitely has the legs to escape the pressure that will no doubt come bearing down on him thanks to our porous offensive line.
The question I’ve been asking myself all week is, should Ben even bother starting on Monday? Is one game worth him risking further injury? I have no doubt Ben will take the field against the 49ers only because he’s the toughest SOB to ever play quarterback. I just don’t know if the Steelers should let him. While the Steelers could still win the AFC North and a first round bye if the Ravens were to stumble once in their final three games while the Black and Gold wins out, the most important thing is to have Ben reasonably healthy for the playoffs. The Two-Headed Monster of Chazis Baxon should be able to win at least two of the Steelers final three games. I doubt we’ll see that, however, as they continue on their quixotic quest to play out the string with all hands on deck.
Let’s hope Mike Tomlin’s attempt to win the battle doesn’t end up costing the Steelers the war.