They can’t fake it anymore. They can’t blame it on a Tim Tebow Hail Mary. They can’t say, “Oh, if only the game had been longer.” They can’t say, “Give Aaron Rodgers one. We’ll be back next year.” They can’t blame it on injuries — at least, certainly not the last two weeks — and they can’t point the finger at anybody named Todd Haley.
Ben Roethlisberger. Troy Polamalu. Rashard Mendenhall. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Mike Tomlin. Hell, even Dick LeBeau. They’re all at fault.
In their desire to remain tried, tested and true to their 40-year-old formula of success, the Pittsburgh Steelers now just seem block-headed and out-of-date. They forgot that innovation is important, even if your mantra remains the same.
You can still value defence and the run without being old, slow, and soggy.
They’ve wasted the first two or three breakout years of both Wallace and Brown, who are perhaps the NFL’s best one-two wide receiving punch on any given sunday.
They’ve blown a window with a talented roster that will almost certainly be dissolved very soon.
Wallace will walk, meaning Brown will get even more targets than he already had. Lamarr Woodley is the team’s best defensive player, but he’ll be alone to man the flank with a “D” that has become rapidly unrecognizable.
The Steelers suck. It’s not meant to be offensive. It’s just a fact.
All we know now is, they need to change. They need to get better. Faster. They need to grow, which is not the enemy of tradition. Tradition is important, but the toothpaste is already out of the tube.
Ask Cleveland and Chicago what it feels like to hold on to past glories. How about the Jets? Do those Joe Namath videos still keep them warm at night?
The Super Bowl is over every February. If you miss the playoffs, you’re no longer a champion and — before long — people will forget the Steelers were ever even the Steelers.
The name will cease to exist in the same realm it always has. They’ll drop off the national radar. They’ll crumble and boil.
They need to restore their glory. But, they have to let go of their past to get there.