Pittsburgh Steelers

Dear LaMarr Woodley: Shut Up and Play!

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 6: LaMarr Woodley #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after sacking Bruce Gadkowski #5 of the Oakland Raiders during the game on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 30, 2009

As if the Bengals and Patriots needed another reason to despise the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers sit at 8-7 due to an inexcusable, but ultimately damaging, five-game losing streak this year, and must win against Miami this week to even have a shot at the playoffs.

But the scenario doesn't end there: Pittsburgh must also get help from New England and Cincinnati if they plan on defending their title. In other words, they need the Patriots and the Bengals to play complete games and compete with each other for the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

If New England or Cincinnati, either one, lose this weekend, odds are against the Steelers making it in; with Denver playing the 3-12 Chiefs, and the Ravens battling for their playoff lives against Oakland, losses by the Jets and the Texans are the Steelers' best shot.

Head coach Mike Tomlin understands this, but also appears to have a better grasp of both common sense and psychology than the erstwhile Woodley. Tomlin came out and adamantly stated that he had no intention of petitioning either team for their help; as far as he was concerned, the Steelers put themselves in this position, and it was up to them to do what was necessary to get out of it.

Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley grossly misinterpreted this action by coach Tomlin and went public with accusations that the two teams were likely to "lay down" just to keep Pittsburgh out of the playoffs.

Well, done, LaMarr. If the thought wasn't in their minds before it most certainly is now. In fact, it would not surprise me one iota to see one team or the other pull starters very early Sunday and let the chips fall where they may.

It would also not surprise me to hear Woodley's remarks referenced in the postgame interview by whichever team loses Sunday.

Yet another shining example of the fact that the game of professional football may be played by adults, but that doesn't necessarily translate to it being played by grown-ups.

Just shut up and play, Woodley; if you had done that at any point during the five-game slide, this wouldn't even be an issue.

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