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Old 10-19-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
LayingTheWoodley56
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Default PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

This is an article I wrote responding to the criticism our team has taken from fans and media alike this season. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

It began the second our 35-7, season-opening drubbing at the hands of the hated Ravens ended. In todayís day and age, where the sports media cycle is running 24/7, there has to be material to fill every second of the airwaves and to populate every inch of newspaper and web space. Thus, the question was asked on ESPN that week: are the Steelers done?

My response was simple: Are you kidding me? I am only 21 years old, so I havenít been drenched in black and gold for as long as many fans have. Many of them, Iím sure will consider the 70ís Steelers as the bedrock of their allegiance, and rightfully so as those were some of the greatest teams ever to step onto the gridiron.

I have, of course, never known those Steelers. These players now - Ben, Hines, Heath, Farrior, Big Case, Smith, Keis, Farrior, Woodley and Timmons, Harrison, Troy, Clark, Ike - these are my Steelers. I have grown up watching them, reveling in the nasty, in-your-face brand of football that is what our organization was built on.

I take it as a personal insult to a team that has had incredible success together (17 players remain from the Super Bowl XL team; that means we have 17 players with two Super Bowl rings, a distinction Iím sure not many players around this league can claim and not nearly that many on any one team) only played one bad game before fans and media alike began tearing them apart.

For chrissakes, this team made the Super Bowl last season! All of these people who claim to be die-hard Steeler fans only took a couple of bad weeks before they began demanding that the team be blown up. Farrior has to go. Smith has to go. Pouncey isnít performing like he did last season. Hines is finished. Hampton and Keisel are just about done. Harrisonís not going to be able to come back from the back injury.

I was shocked that the media had the nerve to ask if we were finished after one bad game (and admittedly, that performance made me want to shove hot pokers in my eyes, as did the Indy and Houston games.) Iíve always felt we donít get our just due in the media. Itís always all about the Cowboys, or the Eagles, or the Jets, or the Packers. Because our style has always been understated and our players donít chirp to the media, criticize our coaches and each other or generally cause any of the kind of drama that ESPN eats up, we are considered boring. Well, you know what? If winning football games and championships is considered boring, I love the fact that weíre the dullest team in the league.

I am embarrassed that Steeler fans have turned so quickly on players that have served the Black and Gold well since they put on the uniform. If you see Aaron Smith in 2011 as washed up, I seen as a player whose played at a Hall of Fame level for us for ten years. You see Farrior whiffing on an open-field tackle because his 37-year old legs canít carry him like they used to? I see him knocking Peyton Manning on his ass in Indy, divisional weekend 2006. Hines is largely invisible for an entire game? Hines is my dude. Hines was a Super Bowl MVP. Hines is my favorite football player of all-time.

This team is still led by a Ben Roethlisberger at the top of his game, even if he often draws criticism from all angles, me included. He holds on to the ball too long, he is not a quarterback who can carry a poor defensive team on his back, and his signature move is playing three and a half sub-par quarters before pulling off a miracle drive to win a game. He is also one of the toughest SOBs in the league, someone who gets his nose smashed in by Haloti Ngataís fist while playing on a broken foot and leads a game-winning drive in the same night. As much as anyone, he epitomizes Pittsburgh Steeler toughness.

Still, Father Time is undefeated. There is no shame for this unit in getting old. Why? 2004: 15-1, one playoff win. 2005: 11-5, four playoff wins, Super Bowl Champions. 2007: 10-6, division champions. 2008: 12-4, three playoff wins, Super Bowl Champions. 2010: 12-4, two playoff wins, AFC Champions.

Smith was on every one of these teams. Case was on every one of these teams. Farrior, Polamalu, Harrison, Keisel, Ike = key members of every one of these teams. Every member of this yearís starting defense was part of the last two teams that appeared in the Super Bowl for the Steelers.

And guess what? The old guys have gotten back on track, settling right in at 4-2, 3-0 at home (a forgotten component of our slow start: 3 of our first 4 games were on the road.) Iím not going to start getting crazy and predicting another 12 wins and a trip back to the Super Bowl because weíve yet to beat a really good team, but I would never, ever, count out this team. When we fell behind 21-3 to the Packers last year, I kept screaming one thing.

This team is not going to get blown out of a Super Bowl. This team is not going to get blown out of a Super Bowl.

Why did I feel so confident saying that? Because I know these guys. They are one solid unit that has played so often together that they are completely in sync. Beyond that, they have shown time and time and time again that they have balls to rival any other squad in the league. Go back to the three road playoff wins in 2005. Go back to two gutsy, grind-it-out playoff wins in the black and blue trenches of our games against the Ravens, including a comeback from down 21-7 in the divisional round last year. Go back to a 7-5 team in 2005 needing four wins to prolong both the season and Jerome Bettisí career. And remember them getting them, in the snow against Chicago, on the road against the Vikings and the Metrodome noise, in the last game of the season when we were so close and could have easily suffered a let-down.

So, hereís the bottom line. Any Steeler fan who has anything bad to say about these guys needs to turn in their Terrible Towel right now. Their play, yes, is always subject to criticism but only to a point. These arenít some schmucks we threw together in the off-season to try to compete for a championship, a la Jets. These are guys who have bled for us every Sunday for years, and they are great Steelers. I will always proudly wear a 91, or a 51, or a 98, or a 92, or a 25 on my chest. I will remember these players as the team who showed me how football should be played. As one. With a chip on the shoulder, an us-against-the world mentality, as players who will play as a unit and hit you in the mouth every time you come at us.

I believe we are still that team. Weíve started seeing the old dominance showing flashes the past few weeks, even if weíre still not forcing them to turn the ball over. Yes, we will probably get smoked by New England in two weeks (nothing to do with age - we all know the Patriots owned us even in the best of times), but let me tell you something.

I will be at Heinz Field for the November 6th rematch with the Ravens. We own those guys. Weíve knocked them out of the playoffs twice in the last three years. Flacco just recorded his first win against Roethlisberger after six losses to start his career. A rivalry is only a rivalry if both of the teams win an equal amount. That is not the case here, even if it changed for one week.

Heinz Field is going to be thirsty for revenge that night. I know that these guys are not going to let themselves be embarrassed twice in one season, let alone on national TV. We will be there, ready and to play and ready to knock them back with that Black and Gold swagger that this team carries proudly.

Wave them towels, donít lose faith, LETíS GO!
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

ABEN my My steeler nation brotha, Aben
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

Very well said and written
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

I enjoyed reading that as well. I will however, never 'honor' Bruce Arians who I find at fault for a huge majority of our sometimes bad plays.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:03 PM   #5
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Smile Re: PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

Powerful! Stick around and see if you can write more like that. I know I would read it. Nice way to make a debut on this board.

Welcome to our part of the Steeler Nation!
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

Thanks guys! As you can probably tell, I feel very strongly about this haha. It felt good to write all down and since I'm from New York I don't often get a chance to talk to other Steeler fans. I wanted to put this out there and see what people think, I appreciate the positive feedback.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

Nice job. 21 years old...you have decades of fandom ahead brother...its lasts forever for us true Black and Gold fans!
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: PLEASE READ EVERY TRUE STEELER FAN!! an article I wrote in tribute to our boys

Haha you know it baby, black and gold till I die! We're gonna have 15 or so titles by then
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