“If the season ended today, this would be your playoff picture”. If we are applying that wacky NFL talking head logic to other aspects of our lives we could easily surmise that if your Aunt Becky had balls, she’d be your uncle. The pregame gas bags, the in-game laugh bags, and the post game d-bags do their best to warp our neat little space time continuum that we have here on earth. It’s a concept that I could only subscribe to if it was offered up by James Brown of CBS. I mean the dude is an Ivy Leaguer after all. When Shannon Sharpe or Iron Mike ask me to randomly suspend my already tenuous grasp on reality I start to get a metallic taste in my mouth and I’m positive that my DNA is restructuring itself again.
Facts is facts and as of Sunday, the facts, in our current state of reality, is pretty interesting. The Steelers are in the dance no matter what and the NFC is waiting for anyone to step up. The juggernaut that is the AFC West is a testament to the parity the NFL has promised since it had to spin free agency in a positive light. Either that or the juggernaut that is the AFC West is just 4 modestly average teams standing around kicking each other in the junk to see who gets bumped out of the first round of the playoffs. All of these teams could finish the season with an 8-8 record and if that were to happen (at the actual END of the season, not if the season ended TODAY) the Kansas City Chiefs would be division champs. That is a future worth discussing. See, I have no problem with five ex-jocks and one dude that knows how to speak in complete sentences ruminate about the near future. As a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I have done that for years. Example: “Hey Dave. Do you think Bubby will start this year”? ME: “If he does, I’ll crap my pants”. Wondering what the future holds is as natural as crapping your pants. Nobody needs talking points so badly that they should be whacking two or six weeks off the season to show a version of the world in which the Jets and Eagles are Super Bowl contenders. Tomlin’s reality: “That’s life in the NFL”.
“The rush defense has given up nothing on the ground today, except for that eighty yard touchdown run”. Again, a twisted, inaccurate version of the present based upon the willingness to disregard unquestionable truths. I’ve heard this reasoning before: “I’ve been one hundred percent faithful to my wife….. Except for those two chicks I banged while I was away on business last year”. They are both concepts that start out strong and then fall apart by the punch line. Here, reflection is the key, Grasshopper. Looking into the recent past shows that the Ravens (TCSFB, in my house), the Steelers, the 49er’s , and a few other professional tackle football teams are very, very good at stopping the run even if they do give up an occasional big gain to a talented back like Ray Rice or an overhyped poser like Peyton Hillis. When you look back with a little perspective, you don’t have to exclude the anomalies to acknowledge the accomplishments. But those two chicks you banged are strictly off the record, Bro. Tomlin’s Reality: “We acknowledge what we put out there on the field today”.
“He (QB, RB, WR, DB, Etc…) is on pace to have seven billion (completions, yards, catches, sacks, etc…) by the end of the season”. He may also be on pace for a torn MCL, embarrassing run in with the law, or to have the misfortune of not playing the Rams sixteen games in a row. Browns’ quarterback, Derek Anderson, was on pace for a 60 touchdown season in 2007. On pace according to a breathless sideline reporter who forgot the Brownies had just beaten the Bengals and had gotten bupkis the week before by the Steelers. Fantasy is a wonderful thing!! Tomlin’s Reality: “It’s about winning meaningful games here and our standard of expectation will not change”.
The Steelers are the best team in the league at not indulging in the “what if” game (well the Patriots are pretty good at it too but The Hoodie is such a dick about it). Maybe it’s all the winning that eliminates the need live in far off, supposed realities. I’ll take that any day.