Hennessy’s Rant of the Week: I Hate The Media (And Tim Tebow)

 Posted by at 5:50 am  Sound-Off, Steeler Nation  Comments Off on Hennessy’s Rant of the Week: I Hate The Media (And Tim Tebow)
Sep 212012
 

 

That man above is Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow is a football player in the national football league. Tim Tebow did not allow the temptation of Gator-Arm clapping Florida cheerleaders and cheap vodka fueled college benders undermine his Christian vow to keep his dingus in his pants until wedlock. Therefore, Tim Tebow is the most important football player in the National Football League. Don’t believe me? Don’t believe Steely McTebow will be mentioned every night on the NFL network?

Being that TotalSteelers is outwardly biased toward all things Black and Gold, I’ll just go ahead and say it: The media coverage of the NFL is horrid, particularly in regard to the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m not speaking of the geriatric staff behind the pay wall at the Post-Gazette, I’m talking about a country-wide epidemic. An epidemic that infects a station with the audacity to air this special…

One of, if not THE BEST, program on NFL network aired an hour long special about a backup quarterback for the overrated NY Jets. Unless the referee that saw that Ike Taylor pass interference is moonlighting as an NFL network production manager, it is incredible this actually made it to my TV set. Highlights included “He’s Left-Handed,” “He’s an Underdog,” and “Tebowing.” The latter, if you aren’t aware, is kneeling on the ground with your fist against your head like an asshole.

The coverage of the NFL has gotten so out of hand that I can’t stand to watch a single football-related program any more, which includes separating myself with a decade long love affair with SportsCenter. Unless Peyton Manning ate lunch, Rex Ryan said the Jets would win the Super Bowl this year, or Tebow threw a pass that didn’t flutter to the ground like a plague of locusts, the media acts like there is nothing to craft a show around. The season opener between Tony Romo and Peyton Manning’s brother had more pre-game mention of Peyton and his bionic giraffe neck than the fact that Eli, the guy who was actually playing that night, won last year’s Super Bowl. Disgusting.

So how do the Steelers factor in this rant? My news station of choice here in Nashville aired a recap of the Steelers-Jets game in between footage of the Titans’ Jake Locker nearly getting beheaded by the San Diego Chargers. In this recap, they wrongly credited Mike Wallace’s duck-footed sideline TD to Antonio Brown, gave a guy not even in uniform (Rashard Mendenhall) praise for an Isaac Redman run, and highlighted #89’s end zone grab by saying, “Ben’s short toss to Heath…” as if Heath Miller was their buddy from Saturday poker night. These were not cue card errors from a shoddy news station, it was another example of the NFL community failing to recognize the stars and names behind the Steelers.

The broadcast networks give the Steelers as much coverage as ESPN has given hockey since they lost the NHL contract. The Steelers win the Super Bowl and it’s talked about for two days then back to hand-wringing over Peyton Manning’s future and pointless discussion about the league’s most spectacular train wrecks (Jets, Cowboys, Iggles). Tebow scampered around for 20something yards on three plays, got his ass handed to him BLOCKING ON SPECIAL TEAMS, and rode the proverbial pine for the other 55 minutes, yet he somehow earned an entire show dedicated to his exploits? How have we gone from top ten “Best Rivalries,” “Best Players of All Time,” and “Best Defenses” to “Top Ten Moments of a Glorified Special Teamer?”

By the way, if I ever see Ben lined up on the left side to block for a damn punt, I am kicking Todd Haley in his angry red face.

The NFL is covered more like Jersey Shore and the Octomom kick than it is a gritty sport full of tough men. I don’t know whether to blame this on Fantasy Football, American Entertainment Culture, or just the declining metal capacity amongst the general population. Whoever captures the daytime viewer’s attention by tweeting their man-parts is held on a pedestal, while the true stars of the sport are kicked to the sideline when all they did is win the damn Super Bowl. Though this phenomenon is not limited to just the Steelers, I have a hard damn time finding any real coverage of them outside of Allegheny County. There are plenty stories of Chad Johnson arrests and Tom Brady highlights to go around, but hell if the stations that employ an army of sports reporters to cover sports 24-7 are going to update me on the team with a spot reserved in the playoffs almost every season.

I guess it’s not entirely a bad thing that our boys have avoided being plastered on GQ ads and Entertainment Weekly but I love watching anything and everything Steelers when it shows off the character and talent of the team.  So if other athletes get talked about for appearing in fairy-costume commercials with Deion or being popular on the Twitter, I want the Steelers to be awesome at that too, dammit. Then maybe next time #17 makes an MC Hammer looking touchdown catch, sportscasters from Nashville, TN to Stockton, CA will get the highlight right.

Week 1 Recap: Tebowed Again

 Posted by at 5:37 am  Art Rooney II, Face Me Ike, Heath Miller, Recaps, Secondary, Todd Haley  Comments Off on Week 1 Recap: Tebowed Again
Sep 102012
 

Once upon a time, the prospect of playing the boys from the Mile High City was met with the same level of disdain Steeler Nation now reserves for the Ratbirds or Patriots. After last night’s game, I think it’s safe to say while the Denver Broncos may not be full-fledged members of the Circle of Hate, they’re definitely vying for a spot. For the second straight game dating back to last season’s Wild Card debacle, the Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in groan-worthy fashion, 31-19.

Where to start with this disaster.

How about new offensive coordinator Todd Haley? Some people view Twitter as a sign of the apocalypse (Follow me @totalsteelers) but I enjoy it because instead of waiting hours or even minutes to gauge reaction, you have it in seconds. It took roughly one quarter before the armchair offensive coordinators started calling for Haley’s head. His crime?

He was running the ball too much!

Yes, the same group who called into Pittsburgh sports talk shows whining about Bruce Arians and his Flying Circus offense for the past three years were moaning because Haley gave them what they asked for. More importantly, he gave Art Rooney II exactly what he wanted, a return to Stiller Football. And how did Stiller Football fare? Isaac Redman gained 20 yards on 11 carries while Jon Dwyer, one of the game’s lone offensive stars, chipped in 43 yards on only 9 carries with one big 17 yard gain wiped out due to a dubious holding call on Mike Wallace.

On the bright side, we totally dominated time of possession!

Seeing this offense try to relive the glory days of Franco and the Bus was PAINFUL to watch. Several times we had first and 15s and Haley elected to run on two successive downs. Only Ben Roethlisberger completing some big third down throws kept the chains moving. This team has one of the deepest and most talented group of wide receivers in the NFL. They shouldn’t be running to set up the pass, they should be passing to set up the run.

FORGET YINZERBALL AND PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS.

Ben is going to catch some flak for his performance last night, as he should. When your rep is being the best clutch player in football, you don’t throw a pick-six down six with 3 minutes left. Ben certainly had a Jekyll/Hyde game, making some great throws where he literally threaded a needle but he also made several incredibly dangerous throws which could’ve easily gotten intercepted. He also missed several big plays such as botching a sure TD to Heath Miller (who was open all day) and never seeing Wallace left wide open on a crucial fourth quarter drive. While I think it’d be totally unfair to pin this loss on him, Ben needs to play a helluva lot better if this team is going to win.

Especially if the defense is going to play like they played last night. Last year, Warren Sapp derided them as old, slow and done. This season, it appears they’re young, eager and over their heads. Despite obnoxious Cris Collinsworth occasionally getting up off his knees to proclaim “Peyton Manning is doing this to the league’s #1 ranked defense!” this is not the league’s top ranked defense. That was last year’s team with James Harrison and Ryan Clark and a healthier Casey Hampton and William Gay opposite Ike Taylor. Last night’s defense had none of those things and the results showed.

Manning was only sacked twice and one of those, by Jason Worilds, was a clean shot thanks to Manning mixing up the protection call. Other than a first quarter sack by Larry Foote, who was one of the few bright spots on defense, they generated almost zero pressure. Surely the altitude played a part but it doesn’t excuse anything. The bottom line is the Steelers offense held the ball for a whopping 10 minutes (35 to 25) longer yet the “exhausted” Broncos D held them to 19 points while the “rested” Steelers D allowed Pey-Pey to march right down the field on them.

Foote forced an early fumble although it was more luck than skill as he got thrown into the back and happened to knock the ball loose. That was it as far as highlights go. The D-line got pushed around on passing plays and couldn’t stop the run when it counted. The linebackers effort can be summed up by watching Peyton OUTRUN supposedly super-athlete Lawrence Timmons to the sticks for a 7 yard gain. Then we have the secondary. Youngsters Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen did their best B-Mac impressions, allowing generous 5 yard cushions on every pass play. And then we have Demaryius Thomas, who once again abused Ike Taylor to the tune of 5 catches for 110 yards.

Perhaps no play summed up last night’s debacle like the third quarter turning point when Thomas took a little slant and ran away from like half the defense on his way to a 71 yard TD. Of course the scab refs missed a hold on Ryan Mundy on the play but it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

What would have mattered was the facemask on Ben they missed on the Steelers’ previous drive which ended with a Shaun Suisham field goal. The game was an absolute fiasco from an officiating standpoint, with the scab refs saving their worst for prime time and most of their incompetence going against the Steelers. The lone time we got a call, on yet another boneheaded Mike Tomlin challenge which came in after a play had been run, it would’ve been better if they hadn’t. Meanwhile, Wallace’s hold wiping out a big Dwyer run and a crucial pass interference on Lewis late in the 4th were the definition of ticky-tacky especially after not calling worse against the Broncos. Evidently they did read the Illegal Formations portion of the rule book on the can before the game because that was one thing they called on both teams at least a good half dozen times.

Let’s not blame the scab refs on this fiasco. The Steelers played a terrible game last night. If Ben had Superman’d up and pulled out a last-second victory, it only would’ve been a Band-Aid on a gaping chest wound. The Steelers clearly have some fundamental issues they need to address on both sides of the ball. And they need to start by figuring out what kind of offense they want to run. Because what we saw last night isn’t going to get it done, not against Peyton Manning, not against Tim Tebow, not against anybody.

Know Thy Enemy: Denver Broncos

 Posted by at 7:36 am  Dick LeBeau, Game Preview, James Harrison  Comments Off on Know Thy Enemy: Denver Broncos
Sep 082012
 

Video courtesy of Benstonium

Welcome to the this year’s first installment of Know Thy Enemy. You may notice another Know Thy Enemy running on another Pittsburgh Steelers site, a site I started and a feature I began writing five years ago. Obviously those uncreative hacks can’t think up their own material so they’ve decided to coast along with my leftovers. Accept no cheap substitutes!

For the newbies, Know Thy Enemy is my weekly catch-all post where I preview the Steelers’ upcoming game. I analyze the team’s opponent, look at how they match up, and also give a final run down of key injuries for either side. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

The Denver Broncos handed the Steelers what was undoubtedly one of their most embarrassing playoff losses ever last season. Even defensive mastermind Dick LeBeau is still shaking his head over how last season ended. Ordinarily when a team engineers a magical playoff run which culminates in a franchise’s biggest win in nearly a decade, they spend the off-season building upon what got them there. John Elway, VP and de facto GM of Denver, went the other way. He tore it all down and decided to start over.

STEELERS DEFENSE vs BRONCOS OFFENSE

Of course Elway’s biggest move was jettisoning the man responsible for all his team’s magic, Tim Tebow. They were comfortable giving up on the Messiah because they were able to acquire a Football God. Peyton Manning, fresh off a season lost to serious neck surgery, was cut loose by the rebuilding Colts. Elway pounced and thus ended the Tebow Era in Denver.

The history of superstar QBs leaving their original team at the twilight of their career isn’t pretty. Joe Namath stumbled through a forgettable season with the Rams and Johnny U finished up with an unmemorable run with the Chargers. Joe Montana had slightly better results with the Chiefs (including a memorable overtime playoff win against Bill Cowher‘s Steelers, thanks to some inept punting from Mark Royals). Much like riding the Thunderbolt at Kennywood or making love to a woman, the second time is never as good as the first. Preseason reports were Manning looked every bit the Manning of old but experiencing the same level of success as he had with the Colts, where he won 12+ games in eight of his thirteen years, would definitely be a case of defying history.
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Aftermath Of A Devastating Steelers Loss

 Posted by at 10:36 am  Blog News, Casey Hampton, Hines Ward, Injury Report, NFL Playoffs, Offensive Line  Comments Off on Aftermath Of A Devastating Steelers Loss
Jan 112012
 

The mood in Pittsburgh is not good. How seriously do we take our Steelers football? The day after each of our two Super Bowl losses, a figurative dark cloud hangs over the city. I currently live in the ‘burbs but I was still going to CMU when Neil O’Donnell threw we lost Super Bowl XXX. Taking a bus through town from my off-campus apartment, I had never seen more somber expressions in my life. It was positively funereal.

Now that we’ve had a few days to digest what has to be the most devastating non-Super Bowl loss in Black and Gold history, it’s time to focus on the off-season. Before closing the book on the 2011 campaign, though, here are a few quick tidbits that surfaced over the past couple days.

— Pittsburgh’s esteemed Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, made good on his bet with the mayor of Denver by Tebowing for the local news media. Everybody knows the Boy Wonder is a diehard fan so I’m not surprised he made a city-to-city bet on a Wild Card game. I am a bit surprised by the stakes. What if the Steelers had won? Would Denver’s mayor have to break his foot, then do body shots with a skanky coed?
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Wild Card Recap: Hail Tebow

 Posted by at 8:12 am  Big Ben, Face Me Ike, NFL Playoffs, Recaps, Redzone Redman  Comments Off on Wild Card Recap: Hail Tebow
Jan 092012
 

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered one of their most heartbreaking losses in recent memory yesterday, losing 29-23 to the Denver Broncos. Tim Tebow was absolutely masterful, throwing for a career best 316 yards and basically humiliating the NFL’s top ranked defense by making them look like a bunch of amateurs. Any doubts about Tebow’s ability to play quarterback should finally be put to rest. He repeatedly burned the Steelers secondary on big pass plays while showing the strength and maneuverability in the pocket of a young Ben Roethlisberger.

Meanwhile, the actual Big Ben put forth a valiant effort, particularly in the fourth quarter, but was a shell of himself for most of the game. Much like last week against Cleveland, Ben struggled in the early going, making terrible throws and displaying absolutely no mobility thanks to his sprained ankle. He rallied a bit in the second half, leading the team on two long scoring drives to force overtime, although once again it was a story of too many missed opportunities.

Not that Ben got much help from his teammates. As I predicted, the offensive line had all kinds of trouble keeping him upright. Ben was sacked five times with Robert Ayers, who at one point threw Max Starks five yards backward like a crash test dummy, notching two sacks to lead the team. Tomlin eventually saw enough and brought in Jonathan Scott to relieve Mad Max but there was more than enough blame to go around. Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller picked on Marcus Gilbert all day while Doug Legursky‘s errant snap cost the Steelers a shot at a field goal to close out the first half. They did a good job run blocking, with Isaac Redman running for 121 tough yards on 17 carries (Rashard Who?), which is about the only nice thing I can say about their performance.
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Jan 062012
 

Much digital ink has been spilled this week previewing the Wild Card match-up between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most of the attention has centered around the two quarterbacks who’ll face off on Sunday. Will Ben Roethlisberger‘s messed up ankle be feeling better by game time? And how is Tim Tebow going to fare in his first career playoff game?

Before we worry about all that, let’s look at the big picture. The bookies have the Steelers listed as an eight point favorite and most media types are penciling this in as a victory for the Black and Gold. Even members of Steeler Nation, a notoriously pessimistic bunch, seem confident of a happy outcome. And it’s understandable, what with Denver losing three straight to end the season and backdooring into the post-season.

Not to throw a wet blanket Terrible Towel on all the optimism but keep this in mind. Since 2000, five teams with records of .500 or worse have made the playoffs. Four of the five won at least one playoff game. Most recently was last year’s Seattle Seahawks, who became the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing record (7-9). I think we all remember Marshawn Lynch going all BEAST MODE on the 11-5 New Orleans Saints to seal their Wild Card victory.

On any given Sunday…
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Sound-Off: Taking The High Road

 Posted by at 9:30 am  Big Ben, NFL Playoffs, Sound-Off  Comments Off on Sound-Off: Taking The High Road
Jan 052012
 

By Hennessy

The “Mile High” road to be exact.

Three days from now that is exactly where our boys in Black and Gold will be, and I guess I’m saying I like our chances compared to the alternative(s) that could have been bestowed upon us. Unlike Chris, I have a certain degree of disdain for Tebow his Highness, mainly rooted in my utter disdain for the “Media Tidal Waves” that like to make something out of nothing. Tim Tebow took the field behind perennially incompetent Kyle Orton. I mean, they had superfans buying damn billboards asking for Tebowmania to begin.  Anyone who didn’t expect some degree of improvement would be likened to a fool, and that’s exactly what it was, a degree of improvement.

WHAT A STREAK OF DIVINITY FATHER TIM!!! You beat seven teams that are watching the post-season from their local watering hole this year!!!

Tim Tebow is an average NFL quarterback. I am not jumping on the bandwagon of his unconventional style, as I don’t think it differs much from the last “Unconventional Wave” of Miami chewing on the the wildcat formation (Where did that get them?). Denver has a running threat behind center that has yet to prove he can throw the ball consistently. The only thing that he has proven is he is a better option than Kyle Orton. Hell, I would take my chances with Byron “One-Game” Leftwich before Orton.
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No Losers When Steelers Face Broncos

 Posted by at 10:02 am  NFL Playoffs, Ratbirds, Super Bowl Champions  Comments Off on No Losers When Steelers Face Broncos
Jan 042012
 

I have a confession to make. I’m a Tim Tebow fan. I’ve mentioned it in passing on this blog but never felt compelled to join the Tebowmania sweeping sports media by writing a full-fledged post about him. Since the Pittsburgh Steelers will be facing Tebow and his Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game, I suppose now’s the time to do so.

My reasons for liking Tim Tebow are twofold. And, not coincidentally, they are the exact same reasons so many people don’t like him. First and foremost, I like him because he’s a winner. He won a state championship in high school and a national championship in college. He took over a Broncos team that started the season 1-4 and led them to their first playoff appearance since the Steelers knocked them off in the AFC Championship Game back in 2005. Sure Denver has lost three straight and backdoored into the playoffs but if not for Tebow’s thrilling last-second victories in four consecutive games, they wouldn’t have even been in that position.

I’ve only purchased two non-Steeler jerseys in my life. One was a Doug Flutie #7 when he played for the Buffalo Bills back in the late 90s. I like Tim Tebow for the same reason I liked the Magic Flutie; they’re both exciting and unconventional quarterbacks who may not always look pretty but have an uncanny ability to get the job done. Flutie wasted the best years of his athletic life in Canada because the NFL’s cookie cutter mentality didn’t see him as a prototypical NFL quarterback. A lot of people dismiss Tebow because he also isn’t a classic drop back passer.

So? Doug Flutie ran around and made plays. Tim Tebow runs around and makes plays. You know who else runs around and makes plays?  Ben Roethlisberger. Outside of Pittsburgh, a lot of media types downgrade Big Ben because he isn’t a pure passer like Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. Steeler Nation usually counters with some variation of “Count the rings!” Well, if you’re going to forgive Ben’s sandlot style of play because it works, why not do the same for Tebow? I also find it funny that some people criticize the Broncos for leaning on their running game to cover for their young quarterback as if the Steelers didn’t run the ball 60% of the time during Ben’s first three seasons.

Now we move on to the other reason Tim Tebow is a polarizing figure: his religion. The Baltimore Ravens’ resident loudmouth Terrell Suggs went on ESPN yesterday and made some pretty offensive religious based comments. The Ginger Dictator is quick to hand down fines when players flip off the fans or phone their wife to tell her they’re not seriously injured. What do you think the chances are T-Sizzle will be fined for his comments?

I find it a pretty sad commentary on society that anybody would have a problem with somebody being TOO religious. I’m not going to get into particular faiths but religion in general tends to stress honor, humility and respect for your fellow man (and particularly women). How any of those things could be considered “bad” is beyond me. Yeah, some religions have been tainted by scandal but so has the Penn State football program.

Besides, if any team’s fans should have no problem with ultra-religious players, it’s fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Tebow is the most up-front about his faith in football, Troy Polamalu has to be a close second. The man makes the sign of the cross before every play for crying out loud. And not so coincidentally, he also has the second best selling jersey, behind only Tim Tebow. Sure, some of that has to do with chicks digging Troy’s long luxurious hair but much of it is because he’s not only a great player, he’s a soft-spoken gentleman. You can wear a Polamalu jersey with pride and, if you’re an out-of-town member of Steeler Nation, without being barraged with rape jokes.

Another not-so-hidden message I put in many of my posts is the fact I find many athletes to be obnoxious. When I was a kid, I was lucky to grow up woefully ignorant of what our star athletes were up to. Carnegie Mellon hadn’t invented the internet and the media was better about keeping things secret. I had no idea Lawrence Taylor was banging 14 year old hookers or the Pirate Parrot was selling blow to half the team. Kids growing up today can click two buttons and see Antonio Cromartie forgetting the names of his nine children from eight different mothers or the semen stains Big Ben left in the bathroom of a dive bar down in Georgia. I saw Santonio Holmes’ horse-dick for criminey’s sake. And women whine about Victoria’s Secret babes causing an unhealthy body image. Regardless of personal beliefs, it’s nice to know there are still good guys out there like Troy and Tim.

Oh, about that other non-Steeler jersey I bought? As you may have guessed, it’s a Tebow. So no matter who wins on Sunday, I’ll still have a rooting interest going forward. Although for the record, I’ll be rocking my classic #86 during the game. While I may respect, even admire, this weekend’s opponent, my loyalties will never be divided.

Pittsburgh Steelers On Collision Course With Tim Tebow

 Posted by at 8:20 am  NFL Playoffs  Comments Off on Pittsburgh Steelers On Collision Course With Tim Tebow
Dec 122011
 

A Sunday isn’t a Sunday without the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unlike the last time I had a weekend without my beloved Black and Gold, at least my computer didn’t seize the opportunity to give me the middle finger. In fact, I was able to enjoy a stress-free Sunday of NFL action. And in the process it gave me a chance to size up the AFC Playoff picture.

It appears that Tim Tebow is a man of destiny. And that destiny is placing him and his Denver Broncos on a collision course with the Steelers.

The Steelers currently sit at 10-3, the same record as the Baltimore Ravens. I didn’t bother watching the Ratbirds this week because everybody knew they were going to hammer the gutless Colts. Instead, I kept an eye on our other AFC North rival, the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy lost a heartbreaker to the Houston Texans when somebody named TJ Yates led Houston 80 yards in the final two minutes to score the game-winning touchdown. The loss was killer as it dropped the Bengals from the second Wild Card slot to a game behind the New York Jets. I know that box I posted above says they’re also behind the Titans but that’s only if they finish in a three tie as Cincy holds the head-to-head advantage after beating them a few weeks back.
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