“The Pittsburgh Steelers have managed to keep the candle of hope lit for most of their fans by winning three of their last five games — this is after a painful 0-4 start to the season. Although, on its face, the recent winning record seems positive, most of the fans believe it’s just a tease and that major disappointment is right around the corner.”
November 26, 2013: The paragraph above is from my blog post in week 10 of the NFL season. The stringing along process has continued with the Steelers winning in week 11 and 12 and managing to get themselves back into the wild card race, albeit with eight other teams. As you can imagine, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for a playoff spot for the Steelers because I don’t think they have improved that much since the last time I blogged about them.
December 5, 2013: Just a quick update. We shared the Thanksgiving holiday with my wife’s family in Stowe, Vermont. The night before Thanksgiving it snowed 6 inches so it was festive outside producing a perfect football atmosphere for the three professional games scheduled for Thanksgiving Day.
The third game of the day was the Steelers v. Ravens in Baltimore at 8:30 pm. Since the day was filled with outdoor activities, delicious food, holiday festivities and merry, the Steelers needed to start the first quarter with “guns a blazing” or it was going to be a wrap for me by halftime. Plus, the anxiety associated with watching a Steelers game would make sleeping difficult, whether they won or lost, so my game plan was to watch part of the game and then get some sleep. Getting to the punchline, unfortunately the Steelers didn’t surprise this already very skeptical fan.
I am not going to harp on the details of the game and my correct prognostication. I do want to point out my three takeaways from the game.
3 points or less: A Steelers v. Ravens matchup may not have the offensive firepower of a Denver v. Patriots, but nonetheless, the game will be exciting because the final score will be right around a three-point spread. Since November 2009, the Steelers and Ravens have played eleven times and the score has been decided by three points or less in nine of those games. The last five meetings have been decided by three points or less. On Thursday, November 28, 2013, the final score was 22-20 with the Steelers coming up short on a two-point conversion in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.
Helmet required to score: The Steelers were on the Ravens’ one yard line and on the second play from scrimmage when Le’Veon Bell, the Steeler running back, took a handoff from Big Ben. On his way into the end zone he was hit by Jimmy Smith and the collision knocked off Bell’s helmet. Even though he scored he was ruled down just inside the one yard line, the point at which it was determined that his helmet came off. I have been watching football for 40 years and never knew you needed to have your helmet on to score.
Hard to take the Player out of the Coach: Mike Tomlin was a wide receiver at The College of William & Mary. I think his competitive juices overtook his common sense when Jacoby Jones headed down the sidelines during the kickoff return and it didn’t look like any Steeler was going to catch him. Mike Tomlin, standing in the white strip next to the field of play, took a step onto the field as Jacoby Jones raced for the endzone. As a result, Jacoby Jones veered back towards the center of the field and one of the Steelers was able to tackle him before he got to the end zone. This action by Tomlin was considered unsportsmanlike and he was fined $100,000 by the league.
What a great rivalry. Clearly this game’s result knocks the Steelers out of an AFC North title but keeps them in the wild card hunt. Classic Steelers: string the fans along.
from Douglas MacFaddin’s Sports Page http://douglasmacfaddin.net/stringing-along-the-fan-part-iii/