That the Steelers not only can make the playoffs but need no help to do so at 7-7 tells you all you need to know about the current NFL. Actually, we’ve known that for awhile, especially when a 7-9 Seattle team not only made the playoffs but beat the New Orleans Saints in the first round.
Parity long ago has been achieved, which means many teams remain eligible for the playoffs as it enters the final two weeks. What more could the NFL want? What the NFL always wants, more. It wants more teams in the playoffs.
Here’s a suggestion, do basically what college basketball does and make them all eligible for the playoffs. No matter what record a basketball team has, it has hope because it can always win its conference tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.
The NFL should just have a 32-team tournament at the end of the season. How fun would that be? It would only take five weeks, without byes or the week between the Super Bowl, the same as it does now.
For those who say it would water down the regular season, why should the NFL care? You’ll still show up, you’ll still watch on TV, you’ll still buy beer and nachos and $200 jerseys. So just close your eyes and think of England.
Onto your questions and one rant:
--- YOU: Good Morning Ed, According to a certain contingent of "Steeler Nation" this organization should replace Art, release Colbert, fire Tomlin, drive Wallace and Mendenhall to the airport and provide them with tickets out of town, decline Kugler's resignation and go ahead and fire him too, retire Lebeau, bring back Arians, etc, etc, etc. I say why stop with the organization? I think it's time to shake up the season ticket holders and get fresh fans into the seats. I think the fan base has lost a step and its time to give somebody else a shot. I blame Tomlin and Lebeau for not getting the younger fans ready to step in and take over for fans that obviously are getting by on past seasons and performances and reputation alone. The home crowd can no longer intimidate an opponent or even slow down their audibles. They allow subpar and obvious lesser opponents come into their backyard and, not only compete, but thrive. I think we should sign Fireman Ed in the offseason but we all know that Dan is cheap and will not pay for proven talent. I would apply for season tickets but I prefer watching comfortably from my couch on my large flat screen tv with the incredible insight from the fans on the Sound Off chat on PG Plus. Which reminds me that its time to replace those subscribers too.
Thank you Dr. Ed. I feel much better now. Have a great holiday season and enjoy the offseason. It should be interesting to say the least.
ME: Very well done.
--- YOU: Were the post game remarks by Roethlisberger a indirect shot at Todd Haley?
ME: I stood right next to him when he said them, and never took it that way. Others have, but I think there are too many waiting for a blowup between the two. On the pass to Heath Miller Roethlisberger said the call came in and then the Cowboys went into a prevent and it was the wrong call for that. He wasn’t criticizing the call, just stating that once the Cowboys switched, it was the wrong call. Many took it that he was criticizing the call by Haley, which he was not.
--- YOU: I’ve been following the Steelers for as long as I can remember. I don’t ever remember a game where the Steelers did not commit a penalty. Has that happened in your recollection?
ME: This year, it’s been the other way around for the most part. Their previous low came Nov. 12 against the Chiefs when they had two for 19 yards. They did not go without a penalty in any game last season, which is where my research this morning ended.
--- YOU: Ed, Adam Schefter and Jamison Hensley who both write for ESPN.com wrote a story on Sunday saying the Steelers "are communicating and committing to meaningful contractual conversation with the running back's deal expiring this offseason". Doesn't any legitimate NFL writer know the Steelers don't take part in contract talks during the season. Even if they did why would they start them after deactivating Mendenhall for 2 games and suspending him last season. This just seems like such a stretch for a story by ESPN. Do you have any info on this?
ME: The story did not say they are negotiating a contract just that they are communicating, or talking to each other. The Steelers do not negotiate contracts at all during the season so all of their negotiations occur after the season. Since Kevin Colbert has been with them he has always maintained they want to keep their own free agents. That, of course, has not always been the case. That they promised to talk when the season is over is not unusual.
--- YOU: I know that you do not think that Mendenhall and Wallace will be with the Steelers next year, but what percent chance would you predict that they could be with them next year?
ME: I’m convinced Mike Wallace will sign elsewhere. There may be a 25 percent chance the Steelers sign Rashard Mendenhall to a one-year contract.
--- YOU: When the offensive coaching staff reviews the tape, what are they seeing that propels them to call these horrible wr screens all game? They almost never result in anything but a disaster! If these receivers are that dynamic, they should be able to get open down the field!
ME: I’m no fan of those things either. Sometimes plays are called, though, to keep the defense honest. They keep giving the ball to Chris Rainey, too, and that usually doesn’t work.
--- YOU: Following the Super Bowl verse the Packers I asked you to name your favorite 5 stadiums and your least 5 favorite stadiums. You listed Cowboy Stadium in the bottom five. Did seeing a regular season matchup there change your mind?
ME: No and the Cowboys do not add to it by constantly blaring music and treating the game as if it’s an NBA game or a discotech. I do not need to be entertained between every single play. The scoreboard is so large, it draws your attention more than the playing field. They not only show their cheerleaders all the time, they have other girls up above the first tier of seats dancing. It looked like a 60s nightclub with go-go girls. I kept looking for Goldie Hawn.
--- YOU: I heard your idea about Tunch Ilkin as a replacement O line coach this morning and I sure give it a thumbs up. Why would anyone want that job? A lot of work and headaches and not much glory when things aren’t going well. We all think it would have to involve a lot of money, but I would bet he MIGHT do it for the Team he loves in the sport he loves. Lets hope it pays enough that he can consider it.
ME: All jobs have headaches and there’s a great satisfaction when the job is well done.
--- YOU: I firmly believe Troy Polamalu is one of the best safeties to wear a Steeler uniform. It seems that when the Steelers played their best pass defense this year, Will Allen played in Troy's place. Could this adjustment back to Troy's style be somewhat the cause of the success by Rivers and Romo, or is it just the loss of Ike Taylor?
ME: Allen did a nice job but when Polamalu returned, that pass defense at Baltimore was pretty good wasn’t it? The Steelers have played the past two games without Ike Taylor. Maybe his absence has more to do with what happened than the Allen/Polamalu exchange.
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