Football Season Over

Well for most of us football season has practically ended.  I will watch the playoffs, but it really is not all that exciting watching teams you do not care about.  For those of you who remember my predictions for the year, I still have a chance to be correct for the Super Bowl (which I have off that weekend, no plans yet…)  Also, I did better than last year by getting five of the division winners correct.  Also, I correctly guessed 17/32 places.  I do not know how good that is or if it is mostly luck.  Offord beat me though with 18 correct, but only four division winners.  I think that should even out.  I hate to point out that over at the pancake, Ryan only got 15 right.

Anyways, one of the things I keep hearing on the radio is the question “what happened to the Steelers?”  I figured this would be a good time to toss my two cents in.  I believe that instead of it being just one factor, it seems to be a combination of multiple things.

In my opinion, they only really lost one game this year.  I know you are probably thinking I am insane, but aside from the Browns game, they either gave the game away or just had things go against them.  The Browns just beat them.

Here seem to be the main culprits for their demise:  Offensive Line, Injuries, Play Calling, Team Identity…

Offensive Line
I used to be of the opinion that the line sucked and that was why Ben got sacked so many times, but now I do not believe that.  We just have to accept that Ben will be sacked.  He holds the ball, and this is not a bad thing.  He makes things happen.  We have to take the good with the bad.  The line does seem to have trouble opening holes for the running backs, or maybe the backs just do not hit the holes fast enough.  Who knows?

It sucks to lose Troy and A.Smith for most of the season.  But, that is not an excuse.  If Patriot fans had bitched because they lost Brady the year before, would Steelers fans say “oh yeah, if you had Brady, we may not have won the Super Bowl.”?  Probably not, they would say “injury is part of the game.”  Well it is part of the game, we learned that the hard way.

Play Calling
This seems to be one of the big ones.  People can find a play they disagreed with every game the Steelers lost that was a bad call.  Yes, running a sweep on third down against the Chiefs was probably a poor decision.  Although, if it works people call it genius.

Team Identity
I hear this one the most though.  “They stopped playing Bill Cowher football!  They pass too much, they do not run the ball.”  Would Cowher still be trying to push the run if he had the offensive talent the Steelers have?  He would be stupid to try it.  They have a good QB, 3 talented WRs, and a helluva TE, and people think they should just pound it up the middle?

And, Cowher football was boring.  Yes it won games, but I cannot tell you how many times I switched to another game during the fourth quarter.  At least now I get to watch a nail-biter each week and wonder if I am going to have a heart attack.

Also, the “pound the run” style of play never really won Cowher a Super Bowl.  Once Ben came and started to become the focal point of the offense (well in Super Bowl XL they used more trick plays than ever, but you get my point), then they started to win the big games.  Not trying to take anything away from Cowher, but this team can get away with passing more, they just need to find the right balance.