Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sports, Part III: The Steelers

As a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, I suffered greatly after watching the Steelers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Jacksonville. Mostly, I want to use this forum to complain.

1. The officiating was awful. Giving that the catch by Wilford (Jax receiver) being called a trap offsets the Santonio Holmes (Pgh receiver) catch being called a trap - which it doesn't - the officiating was still very slanted toward the Jaguars. The holding call on Sean Mahan (Pgh center) on the two-point conversion was atrocious. The announcers looked at it once and then dropped it. This is always a sign of a terrible call. I can remember seeing James Harrison (Pgh LB) being held by a fist full of jersey and not called for holding, which makes it unbelievable that they could call Mahan for holding on that two-point conversion. Also, on Pittsburgh's last punt, Carey Davis was pushed over from behind by two men. Again, this when uncalled. I didn't review the game video or anything, but I feel strongly that the officiating was embarrassingly bad.

Also, shouldn't the NFL be using teams of officials that have worked together all year? They mix up the officiating crews for the playoffs. I don't like this decision at all.

2. Pittsburgh's special teams are awful. They have been the entire time I've been watching the team. It is a huge mystery to me that the team can't find 10 players who can even pretend to execute punt or kickoff coverage. When you allow the other team to start at the 40 and you're lucky to not fumble punts and kickoffs, you make it impossible to win.

3. Mike Tomlin has his work cut out for him. I don't see anyone on the offensive line who has a job this year. Tyrone Carter played his worst game as a Steeler, and with Anthony Smith already having proven that he's terrible, that means they have definite problems in the secondary. A healthy Troy and a healthy Ryan Clark *should* fix a lot of those problems, but if they don't, the Steelers are in big trouble. Pittsburgh's schedule next year is absolutely brutal. 9-7 will require a lot of good luck in my opinion. The good news - he has a franchise quarterback, one of the league's best running backs, a good defensive line (assuming Aaron Smith returns with no problems), and a pretty good set of linebackers. The bad news - the special teams, the offensive line, the secondary, the receiving corps, and the lack of depth at EVERY position.

Thank you for entertaining my rant. Luckily for me, there's always next year!

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