Tuesday, January 20, 2009
A new season was starting, and everyone said, "Wow! Your Steelers got screwed over by the schedule makers! Their schedule is tough!" Then, Tom Brady went down in week #1 and was out for the season. Kharma done bit the Patriots in the behind. Then, Kerry Collins revived his career by consistently leading the Titans to several wins ina row. Pressure was on Favre to perform in New York, Chad Pennington took control in Miami, and Donovan McNabb didn't even know a game in the NFL could end in a tie! The football Gods were going crazy!
Through it all, one thing happened. The Pittsburgh Steelers, a team I expected to finish 9-7 at best, started winning games! A defense emerged from the shadows and took over the number one ranking in several categories early on. Guess it's true...Defense does win championships!
Several injuries occurred throughout the season...Charlie Batch went out for the year making room for Byron Leftwich, Fast Wille Parker went out for an extended period of time, as did the punter (Daniel Sepulveda), and several others. These were injuries with the potential to ruin a season, but quite the opposite happened. Previously unheard of names began appearing on the backs of players in the lineup. Players such as Mewelde Moore started playing out of this world, and the chemistry of this team remained intact. Even Brett "the Diesel" Keisel missed a few games to injury but returned with a vengeance to help cement the defensive line!
Several last-minute comebacks from big plays and big drives gave the Steelers not only a division win, but a first playoff round bye. The well-rested, and now healthy, Steelers crushed the Chargers on a cold, snowy day in Pittsburgh. A week later, they decisively won a third game against their most-hated rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.
Now, the Steelers are headed to Tampa for their seventh Super Bowl. They could potentially be the first team to win six! The Steeler Nation is loving it! Second-year head coach Mike Tomlin is loving it! The players are loving it, and even Bill Cowher, who laid the foundation for this run at the Lombardi Trophy in so many ways, is loving it! There is no way to count this team out, as so many have done(including myself early on)! I sure am glad I was wrong on this one!
James Harrison, cut three times by the Steelers and once by the Ravens became the defensive player of the year. "Big-play" Deshea Townshend, with a game winning interception against Dallas. Lamaar Woodley with an almost slow-motion like fumble recovery for a TD in the first of three victories against the Ravens. Let's not forget Jared Retkovsky, who was at work moving furniture one one October Monday morning and received a call from the Steeler front office, "We lost our long snapper. Can you come in and sign a contract? We need you!"
What more can be said? Veterans like Ward, Roethlisberger, Holmes, Parker, Farrior, Hampton and company continue to get it done! Previoulsy unheard-of's like some of those mentioned above continue to make their names be recognized.
I don't know if anyone else really cares. (Mike, I know you do! Eric, sorry pard, 'cause I want the cross-state game too. Rick A., if you read this, sorry also. Well, not really because I HATE the Ravens! Basecat, hey! At least you still have the Rangers!) I personally am enjoying and will continue to enjoy all of this! If the trend continues, all will be great! If the unthinkable happens, just remember that this team will have gone farther than 30 others!
"HERE WE GO, STEELERS!!! HERE WE GO!!!"