View Full Version : Steelers made the right choice

01-19-2009, 08:29 AM
Steelers made the right choice
January 19, 2009 12:35 am

TWO YEARS ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers had their choice of new head coaches following the retirement of Bill Cowher. They could have promoted Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm, but they went off the board and hired little-known Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin.

It's safe to say the decision worked out well for all parties involved. Tomlin and the Steelers will seek a record sixth Super Bowl on Feb. 1, and the team trying to prevent that is the surprising Arizona Cardinals, led by Whisenhunt--with Grimm as his lieutenant.

Few are shocked to see the Steelers in Tampa. They've been one of the NFL's elite teams all season, and they proved it yesterday with a hard-hitting 23-14 win over Baltimore in the AFC final.

But anyone who watched the Cardinals lose to the Washington Redskins-- or get hammered by the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots late in the regular season--can only be stunned by Arizona's arrival.

As much as the Cardinals have been buoyed by Larry Fitzgerald's emergence and Kurt Warner's redemption, the credit must go to Whisenhunt and his staff.

They changed a decades-old culture of losing, and Whisenhunt had the guts to bench former No. 1 pick Matt Leinart in favor of Warner, who had a few highlights left in his 37-year-old arm. The game-winning touchdown drive Warner led yesterday against the Philadelphia Eagles was a thing of beauty.

Grimm molded a line to protect the immobile Warner, and the Cards have worked minor miracles with a no-name defense.

The No. 1 story line for the next 13 days will be Whisenhunt against his former team. It's the perfect chance to show the Steelers they made the wrong choice.

But it won't happen. Pittsburgh's unrelenting pass rush will be too much for the Cardinals to handle.

Ravens rookie Joe Flacco had been unflappable throughout the playoffs--until yesterday. With Steelers in his face all day, he threw his first three career postseason interceptions--the second of which Troy Polamalu returned for a back-breaking fourth-quarter touchdown.

Warner has seen infinitely more blitzes than has Flacco, but he's turnover-prone when he faces pressure. And Steeler linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley bring heat as well as anyone.

Plus, Pittsburgh safeties Polamalu and Ryan Clark (an ex-Redskin) won't let Fitzgerald burn them the way he torched the Eagles for three touchdown catches yesterday.

Arizona's offense against Pittsburgh's defense is the matchup everyone wants to see. You may want to watch the commercials and take restroom breaks when the Steelers have the ball.

Pittsburgh's offense may be the weakest of any Super Bowl entrant since the 2000 Ravens--especially if the knee injury Hines Ward suffered early yesterday keeps him out or below full speed. But Ben Roethlisberger knows how to manage a game and avoid the turnovers that plagued Flacco yesterday and Warner throughout his career.

Fitzgerald will find the end zone at least once, but Arizona's defense is vulnerable, especially to the pass. Look for former Virginia star Heath Miller to have a big day and the Steelers to win 23-20.

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443
Email: sdeshazo@freelancestar.com

01-19-2009, 09:53 AM
No question it worked out best for each team on the HC hires. I am very happy we have Tomlin because I think he is going to be special. I would love nothing more to see us take down Whiz and Grimm.

01-19-2009, 10:06 AM
I remember that night when there was conflicting reports and it drove me nuts. 2 years later and both Whiz and us are playing in the Super Bowl. Couldnt have went better for either time.

01-19-2009, 10:58 AM
"Pittsburgh's offense may be the weakest of any Super Bowl entrant since the 2000 Ravens--especially if the knee injury Hines Ward suffered early yesterday keeps him out or below full speed."

I do not agree with this at all. Do writers even understand the type of defenses we have played this year. I have all the confidence in the world that our OFFENSE will hold its own against the Cardinal defense.

01-19-2009, 11:05 AM
They cannot have it both ways: Either the Rats defense is as good as they say or it's not, and I KNOW the media thinks the Rats D is the greatest thing since sloced bread.

Well, our supposedly awful O hung 17 on them and should have scored at least 14 more.

And we're playing the 08 Cardinals, not the 85 Bears.

We are going to score a lot of points in two weeks.

01-19-2009, 11:11 AM
No one wants to give us credit and I will promise you this the Cards d will look like the old one in 2 weeks as Ben torches them.

01-19-2009, 12:12 PM

01-19-2009, 12:51 PM

^^^ what he said^^^