There has been a lot of discussion after Art Rooney II and Kevin Colbert both had media days. Much has been made of both, but fans and sports pundits alike have had to resort to reading the tea leaves because neither one said anything definitive. But seriously, did anyone expect that? The Steelers probably don’t even know what will actually happen. There are so many moving pieces to getting players lined up for the next season. The least of which is how to manage the salary cap problem.
Yet, that is all Steelers fans have to focus on as we watch the division championship games. While I was watching the Patriots-Ravens game, I can honestly say I was just a fan of football. I was not rooting for either side. At one point, when Brady kicked at Ed Reed, I was quite angry. Brady gets the benefit of the doubt more than he should. I don’t care how dirty you think Ed Reed is, he didn’t deserve that. Phil Simms (an announcer who I hope does not return next year) tried to call it Brady protecting himself. I’m not buying that. Brady was trying to take out the competition. The NFC championship game was at least interesting to me. I can’t say I’m a fan of Jim Harbaugh. There is something about him that always makes shake my head. I can’t quite put my finger on it. However, I guess you have something going for you when you get to the Super Bowl in your second year as an NFL head coach with a team that everyone had largely written off.
How does that compare to the Steelers? Well, the Steelers had a lot of talent but couldn’t put it together. Perhaps they need to look at both the 49ers and the Seahawks and what I think is their key ingredient – passion. I’m probably beating a dead horse here, but I think there were times when the Steelers just couldn’t rally and get it together. Passion and chemistry can make up for a lot. Did the Steelers have injuries to deal with? Sure, but what team doesn’t by the end of the season? It’s a violent game. It becomes about how you prepare to substitute in players and still keep the chemistry and camaraderie going. Where should that come from? I think if you put it on any one area, then it would never happen. However, it comes down to how that is fostered by the staff. I used to think that Mike Tomlin demanded a lot of discipline from the team but I’m wondering if his style changed as the average age of the Steelers players went up. He also made some head-scratching calls during games this year. I can’t really put my finger on any one thing that needs to be changed though because everything that plagued the Steelers in the past season seem to culminate from multiple points. Offensive fumbles came from multiple players. Dropped catches happened to more than one receiver (however Mike Wallace needed some stick-em). The running game never really got going. I’m sure the list could go on and on. Now, it comes down to how to make the changes and craft a team that can win even if one of the areas (like the running game) isn’t working during that game. The team needs to be adaptive to dealing with substitutions because of injury too.
So, as Steeler Nation waits to see what moves the Steelers management will make, fans will watch the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl wishing their team was still on the field.