Blog Entry

Waiting to Exhale

Posted on: January 20, 2009 5:25 am
 
Can I breath yet?  It seems like all season I’ve been holding my breath, waiting for the shoe to drop.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew the Steelers would be to this point, going to the Superbowl, I even blogged my homer picks prior to the season starting calling for a Steelers/Cowboys Superbowl.  Okay, so I was half right.  I also predicted the Cardinals to make it to the playoffs, just never saw them getting this far, but I’m not surprised. 

But yes, despite my beliefs, I held my breath and would do nothing to upset the balance.  I stuck to my rituals, as if somehow changing them would jinx the Steelers.  Do I have that much impact on the Steelers, not really, but it should be noted on the day of the big loss to the Titans, I had done none of my rituals, and come game time, wasn’t even wearing the jersey. 

So going into this past Sunday, for the AFC Championship at Heinz Field, a place where the Steelers, as favorites, had lost twice before, there was nothing I was going to do to even tempt the fates.  That morning I donned my AFC North Division Champions t-shirt, something I had picked up on my last trip to the ‘Burgh, and went about my normal routine.  I stayed away from the smack talk on the boards, well, almost.  I did predict that Jim Harbaugh would enjoy coaching the AFC in the Pro-Bowl.  Come game time, I donned my #7 Roethlisberger jersey (which my husband bought for me after #36 retired) and parked my carcass in front of the tv, clutching my Terrible Towel.  Only leaving the couch come commercial breaks, not wanting to miss a thing.

Not that my rituals would have changed the outcome of the game, however, it seemed fitting for this season to stick to rituals, since, well, we’ve seen the Steelers overcome jinxes, curses and shaken monkeys for most of the season to get to that point on Sunday.  Now they were playing at home, to get to the big game and the hope of the third time being a charm.  Of course, the Ravens went into Pittsburgh hoping that their third time would be a charm also. 

By now, we know the outcome of the game.  The charm was for the Steelers.  The Ravens magical season came to an end, basically in the same fashion that another rookie quarterbacks first magical season ended, to a veteran quarterback and a defense that took advantage of mistakes and miscues.  Not that Joe Flacco made a lot of mistakes, two interceptions were good reads by Steelers defenders.  But the reality was that Flacco’s inexperience and the inability to move the ball down the field against the Steelers defense didn’t exactly help keep an already battered and bruised Ravens defense off the field.

Some will point to a personal foul in the fourth quarter during a return as the changing point for Baltimore, at least taking away the Ravens momentum, perhaps, but if that’s the case, there were more mental errors done by the Steelers that day.  The only scores from the Ravens were due to two pass interference calls that put the ball close to the goal for two rushing touchdowns. 

Mental errors, we’ve seen a lot of that this season.  I’ve lost count of how many big plays and touchdowns were called back due to penalties this season.  Teams make them.  Steelers were no different.  Of course, there were missed opportunities also, dropped passes by veteran receivers, not to mention one big one from a rookie.  But rookies make mistakes (hopefully Limas Sweed is a quick learner).  No doubt, this game wasn’t different.  The Steelers just overcame them, the Ravens, weren’t able to. 

As like any game between the Ravens and the Steelers, there would be bodies taken off the battlefield.  One wouldn’t expect anything different in this game.  In the first matchup, the first kickoff of the game, Steelers linebacker and special teams player, Andre Frazier would be carted off the field.  Steelers rookie running back, Rashard Mendenhall would suffer a broken shoulder incurred with his collision with a mac truck known as Ray Lewis, Steelers running back Carey Davis and Ravens running back Willis McGahee would also leave the game.  So there was no surprise that we’d see hard hits in this game.  Steelers would lose their star receiver Hines Ward to a knee injury and the stadium held it’s breath after seeing both Willis McGahee and Ryan Clark laying motionless on the ground after the two trains collided.  Clark is probably no longer seeing the little birdies circling his head and reports out of Pittsburgh and Baltimore expect McGahee to make a full recovery. 

The Steelers accomplished two of their three goals that night when they hoisted up the Lamar Hunt Trophy for the AFC Championship.  Despite the win, hopefully the Steelers aren’t breathing easy yet, their most difficult challenge is yet to come. 
Comments

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2009 8:59 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

spackle,

Glad to see you posting and thank you.

I think we all have our little rituals and look for "good omens" when it comes to our teams.  Your husband is lucky on game day...mines not.  Usually I peruse the boards, read the Post Gazette up until a certain point, but cook all day...nah...if I make a cobbler, it's early in the morning...lol.

Hopefully Colon does stay calm and we're not seeing big plays called back because of offensive penalties on the front line.  I think Whisenhunt will try to shut down the run and hopefully Arians won't abandon it and try to air it out.

Looking forward to reading more of your posts and comments.  




Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2009 8:47 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

Well Nova Cats to answer your question about my sleeping habits....3:30 or 4:00 am...earlier if my cats gets their way.

Thanks...I had this same feeling in 05-06.  Hopefully I'll be celebrating like Giants fans did last year. 




Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2009 8:41 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

Jelly,

Well...I don't drink beer so your hunch about me spilling it would be incorrect.  Since I do have that Monday off, may be wine..but definitely not beer. 

I don't think any team is perfect.  Sweed made some rookie mistakes and yes, not only cost them a touchdown but also a time out, but rookies do that.  That the Steelers still could mount an offense without Ward on the field and the lack of the running game against Ray Lewis, even if the Ravens defense was tired and banged up, is still something to be happy about. 

As far as the Steelers taking their sixth...I'll hold my breath and won't crown them until XLIII is in the bag for the Steelers. 




Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2009 7:38 pm
 

Waiting to Exhale

Love your blog and all your other comments Mom.

I have been on sportsline since 2007 but have not done a lot of posting until 2008 with the encouragement of my husband.  I especially can relate to your rituals and the fear of "jinxing" my boys.  Right before the game starts I have to make sure my Steeler flag is not twisted in any way shape or form.  Have to have my Steeler sweatpants on and when we go to the ever so famous Waffle House for breakfast I have to order the same thing as the previous Sunday.  Hey you never know right?

I will be on sportsline up until the day of the big game and I will listen to Sirius NFL at work and when I am driving, but once Sunday comes around I can't listen to anything, but I can't sit still either.  For this my husband reaps the rewards because I will spend the day cooking up until the game starts, just to keep my mind occupied.  Last week he had coconut shrimp and pan seared salmon. 

I for one won't exhale until the game is well under way.  Not until I see how Big Ben is feeling, if Willie Colon can stay calm and not jump the gun.  If Ike Taylor covers his man and doesn't peek into the back field.  Will Willie Parker get his run going?  So much to worry about.  I can't imagine the Steelers are breathing easy yet, not when they are facing Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt. 

At any rate, good luck to us all and happy posting!




Since: Jun 14, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2009 8:50 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

Good Lord Mom!!!! What time to you get up in the morning!!!!! I had that same feeling last year with the Giants. Hope you feel the same way as I did after the SB is over.....'



Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2009 7:06 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

The Ravens magical season came to an end because they couldn't beat Pittsburgh in three tries.  Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in September to secure first place; a position Pittsburgh would never give up.  Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in December to win the AFC North and a first round bye.  We all remember what happened last Sunday.  The Ravens season in a nutshell:  0-3 versus Pittsburgh, 13-3 versus everyone else.  Just one victory in the regular season could have turned the home field and bye around in Baltimore's favor.

Both teams try to play the same game:  A smash mouth defense, a tough running game, and don't let mistakes beat you.  In the end, Pittsburgh had the better backs and defense to get it done.  Perhaps most importantly of all, Ben Roeslisberger didn't make any mistakes and the Ravens couldn't force the fumble they needed to win the game

The Steelers are imperfect as witnessed by Limas Sweed's drop and settling for three field goals.  However, they are a tough hard nosed group of guys that play as a team and will not lose to Arizona. 

Mom, my hunch is before the fourth quarter of the Superbowl begins you will wiping beer stains off your #7 Jersey from celebrating a little too hard.  By then, #6 should be secured.  Good luck to the Steelers.

 




Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2009 5:16 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

Thank you Toorima, I hope I did the Steelers and their fans justice as their OTB. 



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2009 5:15 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

Thank you MM



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2009 5:13 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

Thank you Blu,

Hopefully next season we'll be sitting here having only the highest hopes for both of our teams.  Who knows...SB matchup between the two most recent SB champs?  It was a good run for your Giants this season, of course, in the end, only one will end up completely satisfied with their season.  



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2009 5:11 am
 

Waiting to Exhale

Pittcontact,

No need to worry, I'm not breathing easy yet.  I'm more worried going into the SB with the play calling of Bruce Arians, he tends to be like Cam Cameron in being conservative in his play calling, though he did well on Sunday.  I'm not counting on Arians having "secret" plays like Whisenhunt and company has.  Of course the offset is Mike Tomlin's aggressive attitude, so that may keep Arian's conservatism in check. 


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