After sitting through the debacle in Cleveland, it is hard not to conclude that the Steeler season is over.
The coaching, the age of the team and no tangible backup system in place all spell the Steelers' season being over with the last regular-season game on their schedule this year.
First of all is the coaching. Mike Tomlin gets outcoached all the time by allowing teams they should beat make fools of the Steelers. Case in point: all the losses this year with the exception of the Ravens.
Now onto the defense. For all of his greatness and intellect, Dick LeBeau's defense is too predictable and aging, without adequate backups to step in and continue the excellence of the defense. And special teams have consistently lost games for the Steelers over the last decade.
Troy Polamalu's injury is more significant than the team is releasing to the media. Over the past three years, No. 43 has been hurt more than he has played and has become expendable. The Steelers are just throwing their money away by keeping him along with a host of others.
Larry Foote is to slow to play his position and the only bright spots on defense this year are Lawrence Timmons, Keenan Lewis, Ike "I can cover but I can't catch" Taylor, the Beard Keisel and, despite being so out of shape, Casey Hampton is playing out of his mind.
In the end, the coaching, the age of the team and the injuries all spell a disappointing season and a high draft pick.
Tomlin inherited a great team from Bill Cowher but has done nothing to reload the team with talent. They have become the laughingstock of their division.
I love the Steelers regardless of their record, but it is sad to see such a proud franchise crumble under a coach that has better sayings than play calls.
Benjamin C. Spiridigliozzi
McGloin's right:?It's a vendetta
Matt McGloin said that Penn State can never get a favorable call from the Big Ten officials and was derided for his comments as a conspirator theory.
I agree it is real - not theoretical. Having seen in person or on TV every PSU versus Big Ten game from 1993 to 2012, I feel qualified to comment.
Penn State joined the Big Ten when its university presidents voted it in without the agreement of the Big Ten coaches, thus was born a resentment and strong dislike by the sacrosanct, tight-knit little conference that already had an attitude of superiority over all others.
One of the first games between a Big Ten team and Penn State as a conference member was 1993 with Michigan at Beaver Stadium, and it didn't take long to get a taste of Big Ten officiating. When the Michigan quarterback complained about fan noise, Penn State was promptly given a 5-yard penalty and a warning; this got Michigan out from their own 3-yard line. Other favors aided a Michigan 21-13 win and derisive mocking outcry, "Welcome to the Big Ten," from the visiting crowd.
Penn State's 1994 team made sure that officials would not get to influence game results as the Lions defeated Minnesota 56-3, Iowa 61-21, Michigan 31-24, Ohio State 63-14, Northwestern 45-17, Michigan State 59-31 and other Big Ten teams easily.
No one could humiliate the Big Ten this way. Thus was the hatred for Penn State magnified 10-fold. The vendetta was on and continues to this day. If their two ordained super teams couldn't beat PSU, help from the officials could. Big Ten coaches and sports writers from the Midwest bitterly refused to vote the Penn State 1994 team No. 1, though it was clearly deserved.
I have made it a practice to look for biased officiating when Michigan or Ohio State is the opponent. In at least 12 games against one or the other, there have been very questionable calls from adding time to the game clock, seeing phantom holds and interference calls at crucial moments when Penn State was about to score or when the opponent needed help to score.
This year's Nebraska game gave them another opportunity to stick the knife in.
It is significant that most Big Ten officials are from Michigan and Ohio and are alumni of those schools; the head official is from Michigan.
Joe Paterno once complained about a lack of officials from other areas, and it was his persistence that brought about play reviews. Unfortunately, the reviewers are selected by the Big Ten.
McGloin is right, but the cause has nothing to do with Sandusky. The vendetta began 20 years ago.
Seniors, O'Brien deserve praise
This Penn State senior-led football team saved its best for last.
It beat the Leaders Division champion Wisconsin Badgers 24-21 on a very cold and cloudy day before one of the smallest home crowds this season.
But the best thing was the Nittany Lions finished the season at 8-4 and bloodied the nose of Dr. Mark Emmert, president of the "no-guts" NCAA. And before the NCAA sanctions are lifted off the backs of this great university around 2017, Penn State University, led by its football program, will knock Emmert into oblivion.
This senior class, led by Michael Mauti and company, will be long remembered as the classiest group of young individuals ever in Penn State sports history. These young men will be remembered as household names far into the future.
I perceive that this 2012 class will set the standard for all future recruits coming into the football program, despite the 65-scholarship limit commencing in 2014.
Recruits know what kind of head football coach Bill O'Brien has become in his first year with his exciting New England Patriot offense with the NASCAR wrinkle. It wasn't easy starting off the season and realizing he had to adapt his offense to fit the talent he had, rather than making the talent adapt to his system.
And yes, I wondered if O'Brien was the right fit for Penn State football. He has straightened me out.
I will say O'Brien will be around Penn State and this football program for many years to come. He is a man of great character and honesty along with being a supporter of academia. And a plus is he knows how to develop football talent for entrance into the NFL.
Thank you to the seniors on this football team for what you accomplished with great class.
Fans should respect each other
I graduated from Bishop Guilfoyle in 1976. Four years later, my wife graduated from Bellwood-Antis, and in spite of this, I think we get along just fine.
I guess we missed the memo about the hatred and intolerance that these two schools and their communities have for each other. Heck, if I'd have known back in 1983 what I've come to learn in the past few years, I'd have been even more nervous when I proposed.
During the last couple of years, I've read more than one letter in the Mirror mailbag covering the apparent bad blood between these two schools. While some have been well written, others have almost taken on the, "Oh, yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad" mentality.
I certainly don't want this to come across as the latter, but I do feel my point is worth making.
On Friday, Nov. 16, our son and his girlfriend attended the football game between the Blue Devils and the Marauders. Even though they're both Guilfoyle alumni, they have good friends and associates in both communities.
Initially, they were more interested in watching a good football game rather than rooting for a particular team. This fact attributed to their unfortunate choice of seats - on the Bellwood side of the field. They found themselves sitting just a few rows away from one of those folks that any true fan would be ashamed of.
Apparently, this man's language and comments embarrassed many of the people around him, regardless of their affiliation. I'm reluctant to label him a Bellwood fan as that would be an insult to their real fans, but it was obvious who he wanted to win.
As fans, we should keep in mind that the folks around us or those competing in the game may not be much different than ourselves. Even if you were raised in a nasty environment that lacked morals and failed to instill a respect for others, try to remember that one day you may become friends or co-workers with some of these despised enemies.
Heck, they may even become your in-laws.
Not impressed with St. Francis
Am I the only one who finds the 0-5 start for the St. Francis men's basketball team unsurprising? Since the coach's dad (athletic director Bob Krimmel) dubbed Rob Krimmel the "right man for the job," what exactly is he bringing to town that Don Friday didn't?
It's quite puzzling to oust a coach and immediately bring in another who worked on four non-winning staffs.
Friday coached under only one legend, Pat Flannery, and I'm scratching my head on RK2's mentor. Well, until we figure that out, I guess we will assume it's his daddy, because his winless record and loss of a top player transferring sure isn't selling me as him being "the right man for the job."
I hope someone at SFU is smacking their head on this one. It's obviously getting to the players, and losses won't keep them in Loretto.