John Mehno

Winning at Patriots will be much tougher

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are headed to Foxborough this Sunday, but that trip to Kansas City was awfully bumpy. The Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 Sunday night to advance to the AFC championship game. That’s Tom Brady against Big Ben, and another confrontation with the ...

Mehno: Big Ben has improved off the field

PITTSBURGH — Your opinion of Ben Roethlisberger probably hinges on how he plays tonight in Kansas City. If he plays well and leads the Steelers to the AFC Championship game, he’s the greatest. If the Steelers lose, his approval rating will fall accordingly. That’s how it goes with ...

Decisions by Steelers coaches spoil big day

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers were having a fine day Sunday. That was right up until the time their franchise quarterback started clomping around in a walking boot, just hours before one of their assistant coaches wound up in police custody. Talk about quickly changing the narrative after an ...

Pittsburgh expected to beat Miami

Commentary PITTSBURGH — The temperature won’t even approach the freezing mark today at Heinz Field, yet the heat is on the Steelers. They’ve won exactly one playoff game in the last five seasons, and that only happened because the Cincinnati Bengals saved their most knuckleheaded ...

Stability hard to find in NFL

PITTSBURGH — This is the time of year that a lot of football coaches start packing up their offices and seeking a new opportunity. A bunch of coaches are getting bad news. In the case of Denver’s Gary Kubiak, he left the job on his own. Kubiak walked away because the high-stress existence ...

Mehno: Pittsburgh manages best of both worlds

PITTSBURGH — If we didn’t know this before, we do know: The Steelers can beat the Cleveland Browns without really trying. It wasn’t easy, Sunday’s 27-24 victory in overtime, but it was still a familiar outcome. The Steelers are 15-1 against the Browns at Heinz Field. Ben ...

Test your knowledge of 2016

PITTSBURGH — It’s a brand new year, and it has to be better than the one that just ended. The Pirates did a backslide, and the injury-depleted Steelers were eliminated by the eventual Super Bowl champion. The Penguins rallied around a coaching change and won their fourth Stanley Cup. It ...

Legendary QB lacks insight

PITTSBURGH — Terry Bradshaw was right. He was correct at least to this degree — Mike Tomlin is not a great coach. If the term “great” is to have any meaning, there’s only one current NFL coach who could be considered in that category. It’s everyone’s favorite villain, Bill ...

Game-winning play makes for happy holiday

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are in the playoffs, never mind the tightrope they walked for three hours to get there Sunday evening. They won the AFC North with a come-from-behind last-second 31-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. It will be remembered as one of the most classic games ever at ...

Mehno: Sing along with stories of the year

PITTSBURGH — Christmas is here, and that means it’s time to salute the year in sports by providing new lyrics for familiar seasonal melodies. It’s a great day, a rare collision of feasting and football as the Steelers meet the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field with the AFC North title at ...

Christmas will be tough for Steelers

Commentary PITTSBURGH — The task is easy to identify, tough to accomplish. The Steelers need to beat the Ravens on Sunday. If they manage that, they’re in the playoffs and can spend that last week of the season preparing to put the finishing touches on an  0-16 season for the ...

Colleges on coaching carousels

PITTSBURGH — In the interest of clarity and honesty, let’s start designating all college athletic positions with the adjective “interim.” Pitt was just getting over losing offensive coordinator Matt Canada to LSU when the news broke that athletic director Scott Barnes was being ...

Bell a great weapon for Steelers

PITTSBURGH — There is snow falling at this moment, just as there was on Sunday when the Steelers won a game they had to win in Buffalo. So let’s take the occasion to heat up some leftovers from that game: n It’s been popular for a while to say that running backs are pretty much ...

Not all reunions are happy ones

Commentary PITTSBURGH — We love reunions and the chance they offer to catch up. We get to see who’s done well over the years and who hasn’t. What does the homecoming queen look like as a grandmother? Attendees touch base with the past, and try to condense the time that has ...

Bills may serve as trap game

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are favored to win this Sunday’s game, but watch out for a couple of red flags. 1. The game is in Buffalo. The Steelers haven’t been very good on the road this season. Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits are heavily tilted in favor of Heinz Field. Is ...

The most wonderful time of year

Commentary ’Tis the season, from Thanksgiving backyard football games to the opening days of deer season, championship quests and holiday happenings ... these are some general observations while enjoying the sights, sounds and valuable lessons of the most wonderful time of the year. n ...

McCutchen trade must be solid one

Commentary PITTSBURGH — Trade Andrew McCutchen? Sure. Just make sure to get value for him. The problem with trades is people tend to focus only on who’s leaving. McCutchen has obviously been the Pirates’ best player and was a key part in ending 20 consecutive years of ...

Steelers face challenge from visiting Giants

Commentary PITTSBURGH — The Steelers did what they had to do at Cleveland and Indianapolis. Now can they do what they want to do at home against the New York Giants on Sunday? It’s a big game with the Steelers tied with Baltimore for the AFC North lead and still in control of their ...

NFL on Thursday not so appealing

Commentary PITTSBURGH —Thanksgiving was just a few days ago, so this topic is relevant: n There can be too much of a good thing. This doesn’t just refer to turkey and Aunt Helen’s special stuffing, either. Rather it’s about the NFL’s insistence on making Thursday night the ...

Bad Browns, officials and Cutch’s future

Commentary PITTSBURGH — OK, so the Steelers’ win in Cleveland wasn’t a work of art, but here’s some perspective: n If you haven’t eaten for three days, you’re not going to complain that your Quarter Pounder was a bit overdone. The Steelers went to Cleveland, a team in ...