10:15 PM EST, February 8th-
I am currently sitting outside. It’s fifteen degrees in the middle of winter.
Nothing is on me except for jeans, a Troy Polamalu jersey, and a Steelers sweatshirt underneath it. But I’m not cold. Okay, I'm a little cold, but the anger and adrenaline is too overpowering to care.
I’ve slammed my Terrible Towel a few times on the patio furniture, but other than that, I am keeping my composure. I figured this would be the best place to go, due to the lack of breakable of objects. So why am I out here? We have to go back to the beginning, reader.
To say I was angry after the Steelers loss is really an understatement. I needed a few days to write this column, as I am still fuming.
There are a ton of reasons why the Steelers lost the game. But let’s just review the main ones:
1) Ben’s Spotty Play-
It just wasn’t one play, it was the whole game.
Ben has never been a guy to raise his game in Super Bowls (30-51, 379 yards, 1-3 TD/INT ratio in two previous Super Bowls). I am not sure why Ben doesn’t play well for a full four quarters in the Super Bowl, but he just doesn’t. And I have learned to accept it.
But he really got outplayed by Aaron Rodgers, and that was the biggest difference in this game.
I am not putting the full blame on Ben (the rest I will get to momentarily), but when the opposing quarterback is playing to his full potential, you have to raise your game too.
Ben had two bad picks, and missed guys open all over the field. I am not sure what the deal was, but Ben seemed to possess the peripheral vision of an 89-year-old bus driver at some points.
Think about all the drops Rodgers had. Without the six drops, Rodgers easily reaches 400 yards and possibly five touchdowns.
Roethlisberger did not have any excuses for his performance. The offensive line did not play horribly (Props to Dan “Bronko” Legursky. Dude played surprisingly well given the fact that he hasn’t played center since college and he looks like a larger Matt Millen).
I am not here to bash on Big Ben. The guy has made too many plays over the years for me to really be frustrated, but I still kind of am. I feel like a spoiled child.
2) The Secondary-
By far the most destructive aspect of the Steelers game. Even Troy Polamalu, my hero, made errors.
Let’s start with Bryant McFadden, who played the game as if he was John McFadden, my sixth grade football coach, who had three fingers and was 250 pounds.
We saw William Gay play one of the worst games of his illustrious career, and would have played worse had Jordy Nelson not dropped so many passes. Jordy Nelson should have had 15 catches for 250 yards and three touchdowns.
Even the two safeties, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu, played poorly.
Clark was burned a few times, and Polamalu allowed the touchdown to Greg Jennings which really clinched the game.
On that same drive, Jennings was able to get completely open in the middle of the field on 3rd-and-5 on a decently deep slant, and caught it for a massive gain.
Obviously, the Steelers need a guy to replace the aging McFadden. The real question is in which round should they seek one out?
The seemingly obvious choice would be in the second round, because the Steelers need a first round quality lineman.
That’s great, especially if we can draft Mike Pouncey and shift him to a guard position. What would be more fun than seeing the Pouncey brothers together?
3) First Half Penalties-
It just seemed as if every big play the Steelers had in the first half was being brought back on a hold/clip.
4) Pick Six-
Anytime a team scores on defense, they are probably going to win the game.
5) Black Eyed Peas Halftime Show-
This couldn’t have helped. This may have been the worst live performance I have ever seen.
What happened to the Black Eyed Peas? Didn’t they used to be good? I remember songs like “Let’s Get It Started” getting me psyched for the NBA Playoffs.
Then there was Usher. He moaned a few times, did a “split”, then went back up into the Jumbotron. Paycheck well-deserved.
Quick Note/Conspiracy Theory: Did anyone else think that was not Slash playing guitar? I think it easily could have been a random guy who put on a top hat and hideous Slash hair and glasses.
6) Mike Tomlin/Bruce Arians-
I love Tomlin, but that 52-yard field goal he had Shaun Suisham attempt was flat out dumb. What if the Packers had gone onto score that drive?
Suisham missed that field goal by 25 yards to the left, and he missed the netting that protects the crowd from errant projectile footballs.
My disdain for Arians is well-documented, and I believe he should get the proverbial ax sometime this offseason. Either an ax or Thor’s hammer.
It probably was not the smartest idea to ignore Antonio Brown, the fastest guy on the field other than Mike Wallace. Even after Emmanuel Sanders injured his foot, Brown was ignored.
Brown had big kickoff returns throughout the game, and looked like he actually wanted to be there. Unfortunately, Bruce had other ideas.
My biggest grievance with Arians was the play on fourth down, which ended the game for the Steelers.
You made Ben go into a three-step drop (which he is not always comfortable with), and attempted a timing route with Mike Wallace. A screen wouldn’t have worked there? Maybe letting Ben move around, attempting to make a play like he has done so many times in his career?
No, we are just going to force Ben to become a pocket passer, even though he is better on the run. Kudos, Bruce Arians. I am not even going to get into how you abandoned the run after Rashard Mendenhall was busting off runs in the first quarter.
Maybe, as I said before, I am spoiled by the Steelers success.
They have the most Super Bowls in NFL history, they’ve won two in six years, so I really don't have too much to complain about.
After the game, I turned on ESPN Classic (figuring that they would be showing nothing about the game, and airing something like billiards, bowling or Congress).
There was a documentary about an MMA fighter who had no arms or legs. I realized that the Super Bowl might not have been as important as I thought it was, and I went to bed.
Sure, I stayed up for another two hours after it, but it put everything in perspective.
Which is good, I guess.