Nov
14
2013
steelers def
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The Steelers are currently 3-6. Before that, they were 2-6, so that means if they somehow rebound and make the playoffs, they’ll be the first team since Cincinnati in 1970 to clinch a spot after such an awful eight-game stretch to start a season.

This is just an educated guess on my part, but I’ll bet if Pittsburgh does make the playoffs, some player (Ryan Clark) or some coach (Mike Tomlin) will say something like “Nobody believed we could do it!”

No kidding.

Who would believe that a 2-6 team could make the playoffs?

After losing 13 straight games—including the first eight to start the 2013 season, the Jaguars finally tasted sweet victory after a 29-27 triumph in Tennessee this past Sunday. Again, this is just a guess, and I didn’t read any post-game quotes, but I’ll bet the head coach or one of the Jaguar players said something like, “Nobody believed in us except the people in this locker room.”

No kidding.

Jacksonville didn’t just lose 13 games straight, every loss was by two-scores or more. If you’re a member of the Jaguars organization, you’d have to forgive even your own mother for not believing in you, prior to Sunday.

I always get a kick out of just how angry and indignant players, coaches and, heck, even blindly loyal fans act whenever their team overcomes some epic struggle and proves all the “doubters” and “haters” wrong.

If you don’t want people to hate, don’t give them anything to hate you for. If you don’t want people to doubt, don’t give them a reason to doubt your abilities. If you don’t want people to give you up for dead, get off life-support.

Clark, the Steelers very outspoken free safety, often takes the media to task for negative reporting. Back in 2009, when Pittsburgh was in the midst of a five game losing streak, Clark infamously called a group of reporters huddled around him “turds.”

Following the 55-31 loss to New England in Week 9, Clark took to his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan and answered the speculation about the future of legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau by reminding reporters that their opinions simply don’t matter, and the only ones of value are held by people within the organization.

OK, but if the opinions of reporters (and even the fans) don’t matter, why are the negative ones often used for fuel?

What coaches and athletes need to understand is everyone in sports plays a role. Sports might not be traditional entertainment, but they’re still a form of it, and there will always be “favorites” and “underdogs,” just like in the movies.

People doubted Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger could play for his beloved Notre Dame. But to quote Charles S. Dutton’s character in the movie Rudy, it was because he was “Five foot nothin’ and 100 and nothin’.”

If Ruettiger was a five-star recruit, I’m guessing a movie wouldn’t have been made about his life and the fact that he actually appeared in a game for the Fighting Irish.

People doubted Vince Papale could make the Eagles in the 1970s, but that’s because he was an unemployed 30 year old bartender who was invited to training camp as a publicity stunt by first year head coach DickVermeil.

The reason the 2005 Steelers were such a great story is because of the adversity they overcame to sneak into the playoffs along with the historical postseason run they went on to become the first sixth seed to advance to and win the Super Bowl.

Did anyone outside of Pittsburgh believe the Steelers could make it? No way. Who could have predicted it going in?

Yes, at this very moment, I’m doubting the Steelers can achieve anything but a high draft pick next April, but can you blame me?

After all, you can’t have hate, doubt and a bunch of non-believers without a lot of crappy football.




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