View Full Version : Title settles definition of 'Steeler Football'

02-04-2009, 11:52 AM
Title settles definition of 'Steeler Football'
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

William Gay may be just a second-year cornerback and a former fifth-round draft pick, but he understands the significance of what happened in Tampa, Fla.

"It's just a dream come true," Gay said after Super Bowl XLIII had been won by the Steelers on a last-minute drive for the ages.

"I'm not the MVP, but I might go to Disney World myself."

It ended with the Steelers passing for their championship lives, and it ended 27-23, Steelers.

Now that it ended the way it ended, we can officially put to rest the archaic, romantic and mostly inaccurate notions that 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust smashmouth is, was and always will be "Steeler Football," and that any other approach betrays the franchise's "identity."

The Steelers averaged 2.2 yards per carry on Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium.

The state of their running game was such that they ran the ball eight times on plays that originated at or inside the Cardinals' 7-yard line -- and gained a combined total of 0 yards.

They managed to run for one touchdown from in close, but they also kicked field goals from the Arizona 1 and the Arizona 3, and in each instance it was the right thing to do.

And the Steelers combined with the Arizona Cardinals to set Super Bowl records for fewest rushing first downs, both teams (six, four for the Steelers), fewest rushing attempts, both teams (38, 26 for the Steelers) and fewest rushing yards, both teams (91, 58 for the Steelers).

The Steelers' performance in the Super Bowl was more or less representative of how they ran the ball all season.

And they still managed to win the Super Bowl.

Does winning it through the air make the occasion any less worthy of a celebration?

Gay didn't think so he might be in Disney World as we speak but then again he hasn't been around here very long.

As for those who have, the "Steeler Football" mystique has long been more mystical than factual.

Running back Franco Harris was the MVP of Super Bowl IX.

After that it's been wide receiver Lynn Swann (X), quarterback Terry Bradshaw (XIII and XIV), wide receiver Hines Ward (XL) and wide receiver Santonio Holmes (XLIII) so honored in Super Bowls won by the Steelers.

Did Bradshaw win because of the way he handed off the ball?

Were Swann, Ward and Holmes recognized for their run-blocking?

As recently as 2005, the Steelers stormed through three playoff games to Super Bowl XL on Ben Roethlisberger's arm.

Now, they've won a championship mostly thanks to running "scramble left, scramble right, someone get open" as many times as necessary.

What are they supposed to do next year, draft the best fullback available and go back to throwing 20 times a game?

In the Bill Cowher era, the Steelers became famous for how well they ran the ball and infamous for never getting over the hump.

Then Roethlisberger arrived, and things gradually changed.

So must the perception of who the Steelers are and how they're supposed to play the game.

That was questioned as recently as late this season by none other than running back Willie Parker.

By now even William Gay understands it's easier to get to Disney World through the air.


02-04-2009, 12:12 PM
What are they supposed to do next year, draft the best fullback available and go back to throwing 20 times a game?

In the Bill Cowher era, the Steelers became famous for how well they ran the ball and infamous for never getting over the hump.

See, that's the part I don't quite agree with. In the Bill Cowher era, we always had great running backs and a shitty quarterback. Usually mediocre receivers too. That doesn't seem like stubbornly sticking to the running game; more like playing to your strengths.

02-04-2009, 12:17 PM
I don't give a rat's ass about this article.... I want to see us establish a dominant run game again. This year was somewhat frustrating to me because of the lack of running.

We managed to win 1/3 of our games on come from behind last minute drives. While that's exciting I'd rather we grab a lead and then grind the clock out with a good running game. That 3rd quarter against the Bolts was awesome to me.

02-04-2009, 01:02 PM
This article is DEAD ON.

Had we had any of the 90's teams, we would have lost the SB, because we would not have been able to move the ball through the air.

Why couldn't we back then? Because the WR and the QB were not priorities, the FB and RB were the priorities. SO you put your money there.

I have said it before, running the ball may get you TOO the playoffs, but you better be DANG SURE you can THROW the ball to make it THROUGH the playoffs. That is where COwhers teams failed.

Yes, I would love to see a bit more balance. Let's get that O line fixed and Mende healed. BUt the heart of this article is dead on. When it comes to SB's, this team has pretty much always done it through the air.

02-04-2009, 02:40 PM
Fire Arians!

(Insert sarcasm smiley here)