We’ll hear tonight that the State of our Union is strong. There are great challenges paired with much promise that our Union faces. Partisan bull crap aside – what’s the State of Steelers Nation?
Wouldn’t it be great if team presidents in the NFL had to stand at a podium and address their fan base and media about the state of their team? And not in the half truth sugar coated way that most Presidents portray the state of the US this time of year – but an honest assessment of where their team is headed. In the spirit of what we will hear tonight from our own President, here’s what we might hear from President Rooney…..
“Coach Tomlin, Mr. Colbert, Citizens of Steeler Nation and yinzers everywhere,
The State of Steelers Nation is strong.
This past year we faced injuries, suspensions and new rules that challenged the success and identity of this team. Old rivals bested us, yet we continued to fight and pull ourselves up when many counted us out. We defeated many opponents, including those who appeared to have our number in seasons past. Our team reached a record of 12-4 but in the end could not defeat the Will of God.
I know that many of you are disappointed, but we gained and achieved much over 17 weeks. Our franchise quarterback had a very productive season and threw of over 4,000 yards for the second time in his career. Showing us he is the true Iron Man of the NFL, he fought through injury and showed toughness and heart that no other quarterback in this league would ever dream of doing. We saw our young receivers grow and mature in ways beyond our expectations from the beginning of the season. Rarely has this team ever seen two 1,000+ yards receivers. Our star veteran reached a milestone of 1,000 catches. Our speedster had the longest catch and run in our franchise history. There are great things to come from our receivers in years to come, and we will do everything we can to keep them here in a black and gold uniform.
Our defense went from being called ‘old, slow and done’ to being the #1 overall defense in the league…. again. The secondary was the best in the league in yards allowed, and even though he had his struggles in the postseason, our #1 corner was one fo the best shut down corners in the league. Our rookies on this side of the ball stepped up and contributed their efforts and skills all season long leaving a positive impact on the successes of this team.
Our successes didn’t come without their shortcomings. Our offense and defense have some areas needing addressing and the front office will do their best correct the things keeping this team from reaching the Super Bowl next season. The immediate consequence from this season’s outcome resulted in letting Bruce Arians go. I felt this offense became a heaping pile of underachievement. The lack of points on the board and his stubborn dismantling of the running game were the main causes of this decision. I know that the statement released by the team seemed icy – but quite frankly, I hated the guy. I know that many are confused by this decision while others are elated. For those of you confused let me just remind you all of the 100 million dollar investment that takes every snap every game. We as a Nation need to protect that quarterback better which translates into a strong running game that takes the pressure off our pass protection and controls the possession of the football. How many games did we lose this season because of poor clock management and conversions to first downs during the second half of a ball game? We will find someone who can build off of the tools that we have but also develop schemes that favors ball control and the blue collar offense that many of you and I grew up with. The offensive line will get better. The fact that these group of men could protect anything was nothing short of a miracle. Personnel moves will be made within the line during the offseason to improve the pass protection. The running game will become strong again – with or without our first string back. And, ‘Heath’ will continue to ring loudly throughout Hines Field.
Our organization faces an enormous deficit with the salary cap. Some of our long time vets will either need to restructure their contracts or be released to pursue the end of their careers with other teams. We are an aging group – older but not ‘old’ – and we need to begin investing in younger players in order to establish the new era of Steelers football. These will be hard choices to make, but we will suffer many personnel losses before we are able to claw our way forward again.
We WILL draft young talent for the defense. We WILL acquire free agents for the offense. We WILL give our team the best chances possible in bringing home another Lombardi trophy next season.
We have the best fans in the entire world from any sport in the world. Steelers Nation is a global entity. Our heart comes from yours. We will not let you down. We will capture the North division again, and bring home number 7.
Thank you. God bless. And may God bless the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation.”