Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
Wednesday, October 9th, 2012
By Tiger Rowan
Steelers Fever Columnist
Part way through the Eagles-Steelers game, my brother turned to me, and stated, “The Steelers gave the correct wide receiver (Antonio Brown) the money.”
In case you missed the game, Mike Wallace quit. You can sugar-coat it all you want to and/or blame it on the rain (fallin’, fallin’), but there is no way around it: Mike Wallace had one of the most apathetic performances that I have seen in a long time.
Any and every player can have a bad game. I understand that. Cornerbacks get beaten; running backs run into walls of defenders; and quarterbacks throw three interceptions. Bad games are a part of playing sports.
But, what Mike Wallace did was completely different.
A player can try their hardest, and through no fault of their own, have a bad game… due to being slightly off and/or due to the opposition being in a zone. Sometimes, the better team just wins (or, the worse team wins, because they played the perfect game)… even though a player might be putting forth their full effort. That is the beauty of sports.
But, with Mike Wallace, it was different, because his bad game was a direct result of his minimal effort.
Do not get me wrong: I have been a proponent of Mike Wallace for a very long time, and specifically, throughout the hold out. True, I feared that he and Big Ben would have some trouble connecting (due to not having the reps together and/or not having a rapport), but I never once questioned Wallace’s commitment to winning. Similarly, I felt that a deal would get done, because I thought that Wallace was a class act, who also happened to be a great athlete.
But… while the latter is not arguable (he is indeed an amazing player), maybe I was wrong about the prior (his commitment).
Why? Because, I have rarely seen such a lackluster amount of effort by a player. Simply, the names Ryan Leaf, Chris Johnson, and DeSean Jackson came to mind: huge amounts of talent, trumped by even larger amounts of attitude.
Now, I know that is was only one game, and Wallace’s first three games were spectacular. Likewise, I am not going to overreact & hope for his trade (as some fans have suggested), but I am also now leaning towards the factions of Steelers fans who not want to see Wallace signed to a long-term deal.
Think about it this way. If Wallace had had two catches for seventeen yards, while trying his hardest, I would chalk it up to the defense having a good day. But, when Wallace did not fight for the ball in the end-zone (he had plenty of time to adjust, but he did not even move anywhere near the ball); when Wallace dropped a routine a pass over the middle; and when Wallace lined up wrong (something so basic)… well… it screams “Look at me!!!”… in the wrong way. Simply, his effort left a bad taste in my mouth. And, that bitter taste is worsened by the fact that at one point, I thought that Wallace was one of the new faces of the franchise.
For three years, before any play, but mostly on third downs, my family would chant, “Wallace… Wallace… Wallace…” Then, often, we were rewarded with a big play, followed by a collective scream of “Wallace!!!” And, that truly is saying something, because my father is the biggest Hines Ward fan in the world, and for my dad to root for another receiver while Hines Ward was still playing is mind-boggling. Again, in my household at least, Mike Wallace was the new Hines Ward.
Then… on Sunday… after several plays, the screams were in a slightly different nature: “[expletive] Wallace!!!”
Mike, you have a choice to make. You control your own destiny, via your attitude. Let us hope that you make the right choice; let us pray that you have the right attitude; and let us vie for the Wallace of the first three years of his tenure in Pittsburgh to return. Simply, the Steelers need more “Wallace!!!” and less “Wallace!?!”