Monday, January 26, 2009

Endgame - Pittsburgh Steelers

If the Steelers were a song…

Young Jezzy - Go Crazy (Remix) - Young Jeezy (ft.Jay-Z)

Just because…

Who are the Steelers?

As an undergrad in a fraternity, it’s cliché to say that I received a great many mantras for life from the older brothers in the house. There is one, however, that has stuck with me for a long time. Once, in the gym (I promise that this is as stereotypically fratty as this will get), an older brother watching me, a 165 pound string bean of a man, struggling with a weight that was well out of my league, stopped by and told me I was “doing it all wrong.” When I asked what I should be doing, he simply responded “Make it look easy,” before walking off to do something much cooler than anything with which I was involved at the time. That stuck with me, reminding me that no matter what I accomplished, the goal was not simply to succeed, but to make it look like doing so was quite possibly the most boring thing in the entire world.

Mike Tomlin has made this entire season look just that easy.

Remember Bill Cowher? One Super Bowl in fifteen years. Meanwhile, Tomlin has put together a better record in his first three years than Cowher did, and has reached the big stage in almost a fifth of the time it took the Chintimidator. He runs the league’s best defense, attacking quarterbacks and shutting down run games courtesy of Dick LeBeau’s confusing zone blitz schemes and Troy Polamalu leading a defensive secondary that craters chests with no regard for safety (ask Willis McGahee about that if you doubt it). His offense, thanks to a speedy run game and a deceptively talented receiving corps, has the firepower to take advantage of teams that struggle to put points on the board. Yet all season long we’ve only implicitly acknowledged just how good this team is. Sure, they’ve got history, but their offensive line is only so-so, and Big Ben is really just a game manager, and Santonio Holmes is just another fast guy catching passes, right?

I think we’re bored because Tomlin looks bored with it all. Success for this team has become second nature, which is both a testament to the fact that it has absorbed it into its very nature and very, very sad. Yet somehow, it makes this Super Bowl all the more important for the Steelers. The organization is like an achievement fiend, with only the highest highs bringing any sort of satisfaction anymore. I, for one, wonder whether or not victory on this stage would crack Tomlin’s seemingly invincible façade, would make Ben Roethlisberger look more human than machine. In almost direct contrast to their opponents, everything about the Steelers screams that things were meant to unfold exactly as they have up to this point, that destiny, the overarching story of everything in this league, had no other plot to follow.

If this makes me sound biased against the Steelers, it’s because I am, but only because I happen to find the Cardinals story much more compelling. That is not, however, to say that the Steelers haven’t managed to forge their own important role in this year’s proceedings. If anything, they’ve been MORE important than the Cardinals ever could have been. Rebellions and twists are fun, but destiny simply marches on around them. A victory on Sunday would serve as the wake up call that both the team and its audience have desired, reminding everyone exactly how good the Pittsburgh Steelers have been all season long.

No comments: