So, Pittsburgh lost the Super Bowl on Sunday. Let’s face it. Besides the actual game, there were all kinds of fail throughout the entire event.
First off, the weather played havoc with anyone trying to navigate their way around the city. Now, being from Pittsburgh, I am used to driving in the snow and ice. If it’s snowy, I’ll take my time. If it’s icy, I will probably stay home, unless I am at work or already out. However, living in and around this city comes with certain expectations and given circumstances.
When it snows, I expect to add a good 20 minutes to my drive. Whether it be all the people who suddenly go, “Oh my Gawd, yinz are crazy for driving dahn the parkway in the left hand lane. Imma gonna pull over on the burm and wait it aht, n’at.”
The given circumstances are that when it even threatens to snow around here, people will go all bat shit Snowmageddon crazy, stocking up on bread, milk, eggs, and toilet paper in case they get stuck in their house for the morning. Think I’m exaggerating? Try going to Giant Eagle to get one thing whenever there is A: Threat of snow or B: Impending Steelers game.
The other given circumstances are that whenever I finally get onto the parkway, everything will slow down before I reach the Squirrel Hill Tunnels. There are two to three lanes and a lot of on ramps merging commuter traffic into the chute that heads towards the tunnel. It all slows down and everyone jams up the parkway fearing that the tunnel monster will get them.
Now, being in the South, the snowfall is not as much and they aren’t prepared to handle a lot of snow and ice. However, what I cannot understand is why after three years of seeing National news about snowy and icy conditions in states like the Carolinas and Texas, no one has gotten wise and started planning for these kinds of conditions. Maybe they ought to think about getting some real salt or brine and trucks to treat the roads instead of magnesium chloride and sand. Maybe Jerry Jones or the NFL could have seen that perhaps there could be the possibility of snow and planned ahead. Then again, the road conditions were just previews of coming attractions.
I’m sure everyone is aware of what happened before the game started, so I won’t dwell. There were thousands of people standing in line for hours, urinating in line due to no accessible bathrooms. The queuing structure was worse than at the DMV and available gates were closed due to falling ice from the roof. Once again, a little forethought would have been good here. Then people who paid for tickets found out that the seats they paid good money for were deemed unsafe. OK, when exactly did Jerry Jones get the word he’d be hosting the Super Bowl? When did the NFL find out? And, why were these issues not addressed up until game time, forcing thousands to either take temporary seating somewhere else or not at all?
To the NFL’s credit they offered to reimburse the angry ticket holders. To their discredit, they are only reimbursing them for three times the face value. That doesn’t take into account the loss of pay from work, airfare, hotel accommodations, travel, and the fact that most people in those seats did not pay face value. Oh, and they get a free ticket to next year’s Super Bowl. Well, how many of those people were there because they were rooting for a particular team? Who knows if Green Bay or Pittsburgh will be in the Super Bowl next year? This has been updated to include ANY Super Bowl of your choice including round trip airfare. That's about as good as it will get. If it were me, I'd wait until either your favorite team or one of the big markets like Indianapolis or New England gets in and then sell them at a premium.
Next we had Christina Aguilera mess up the National Anthem. I can say I’d forgive her because it is a bit nerve racking to think of how many people are watching you. It’s also very hard to sing when you hear the echo of your voice back louder than what’s coming out of your mouth. Still, she kind of flaked and didn’t sound all that great. And, it didn’t help that half the people watching were thinking, “Wow, Cyndi Lauper sounds different, doesn’t she?”
I’ll get to the game in a bit, but I want to point out that the half time show, in my opinion, sucked. Let’s take a look back on the last two Super Bowls Pittsburgh played in. For Super Bowl XL, The Rolling Stones did the half time show. In Super Bowl XLIII, it was Bruce Springsteen. This year, we get the Black Eyed Peas and Usher, with special appearance by Slash. It sounded horrible. Whoever let Fergie attempt to do Sweet Child of Mine should be shot and then shot again. She even tried to do the Axl dance. Hell, she looked more like Axl than sounded like him. It was painful. And shame on Slash for selling out and doing this. In my mind you would have had two better options in this case. One would have been to get those wacky glee kids to do it or get another rock act. I guess it doesn’t bode well for Pittsburgh when you don’t have a rock and roll legend performing the half time show. My thoughts for next year, The Clarks. Hell, the last really great half time show I watched was Prince in Super Bowl XLI.
Now, the saddest part, the game. Whatever your thoughts are about the Steelers’ performance remember that Green Bay was a hell of a team. People will want to string up Ben Roethlisberger or Bruce Arians or even Mike Tomlin, that’s a given. However, look back at the playoffs and you’ll see that we snuck into the Super Bowl on luck. We played a horrible first half against Baltimore and a horrible second half against New York. That kind of luck is not going to cut in the big game.
Ben had a hell of a season, having to come back from being out four games due to the suspension. He then did what he had to do to win the other games. Now, there is usually no one else I’d want to have running a two minute drill with the game on the line, but seriously, relying on him to pull off a win in the last two minutes is no way to play.
Turnovers and penalties killed us and it’s hard to rebound from that. Ben threw one real interception and someone got a piece of his arm on the first one. Mendenhall protected as much as he could have but Clay Matthews hit him in the sweet spot causing the fumble. The defense showed moments of rattling Rodgers. You could see him getting antsy and the defense was getting in his head but they never followed through. If they could have rattled him more, he could have made some mistakes. Some will blame Troy for being a no show. Troy was there and made plays to keep Green Bay from extending the run. He wasn’t his usual Tasmanian Devil self. Shame.
Truth is Green Bay wanted it more. It was their time. Aaron Rodgers is a good quarterback and he’s getting his shot. Ben will get to the Super Bowl again and Pittsburgh will get their seventh Lombardi. This year just wasn’t in the cards. We rode a luck filled train and couldn’t deliver when we needed to.
I was pissed because we keep making the same stupid penalties. I’m not even talking about the helmet to helmet stuff that plagued us in the beginning of the season. I’m talking about offensive penalties that march us backwards five to fifteen yards at a clip. My biggest issue is with Chris Kemoeatu. For the past few weeks he has been responsible for a lot of the penalties. Holding, personal fouls, the works. Someone needs to get on his ass about causing a 15 yard penalty when field position is in short supply. He had one personal foul right in front of the official. WTF?!?!
As fans, we feel a more elevated level of frustration in Pittsburgh. We put way too much emotion and stake into a football game. After the loss I wanted to punch a wall, kick a puppy, draw a mustache on a work of art, burn a couch, and take out my 45 and shoot into the air while screaming “ARRRRRGGHHH!” Point Break style. And we get bent out of shape after the game.
We can’t watch the NFL network or ESPN because we are constantly reminded that the other team won. We go back and replay the scenario in our heads. What if Ben throws to Heath instead of Wallace during that last drive? What if he didn’t under throw Wallace? What if Aaron Smith would have played? We replay and dissect and over analyze and rationalize and bargain and we come up with the same conclusion. Then we start the process over again. We look at the calendar and start crossing off days until training camp. Then we hit rock bottom and begin looking forward to the Pirates. That’s when we really need an intervention. We’re passionate and committed and a little bit insane over our love for our team. When we don’t win we expect the ground to open up and swallow whoever we deem responsible.
This year’s Super Bowl was just a big old cluster frack and the whole season was pretty much the same way. Goodell needs to go or get a reality check. He says the fans want an 18 game season. Do we really? If you take a look at this last season and see how far into the depth chart Pittsburgh and Green Bay had to reach to string together an offense and a defense to play on Super Sunday I think the answer is clear. Hell, half of the Packers were already in the locker room before half time due to injuries. I think we, as fans, want a great season full of excitement but we don’t want to see the practice squad out on the field during the playoffs because everyone is injured. 16 games are fine. The playoff structure is fine. It all works just the way it is. If you want to change something, get that CBA done and get some consensus on the rules and enforce a league wide standard instead of saying “Well, he’s a different type of quarterback, so he needs more protection.” I call B.S. He’s a professional athlete that signed up for this. He should be taken care of just like any other person in his position. What’s good enough for a Brady should be good enough for a Vick or a Roethlisberger.
That’s all I got. Let’s go Steelers. 2011 is a new year.