“For where there is no battle there is no life.”
I had that quote all set up to use at halftime of the Giants-Panthers debacle (which we’ll get to later) before realizing that it would work even better for what transpired in that other New York football team’s game.
For many, the signature play of the Indianapolis Colts’ decade did not take place in their overwhelmingly forgettable Super Bowl XLI win over the Bears;* rather, it was in the 2004 Divisional Playoff game in New England, when Dominic Rhodes had the ball ripped out of his hands by Tedy Bruschi. “They don’t want it!” Bruschi yelled, pointing to the ball as he jogged to the sidelines.
*To substantiate my “overwhelmingly forgettable” claim: What was the score? Who really deserved MVP? What was the key play, and who made it?
That has long been the perception about the Indianapolis Colts: They don’t want it as much as New England or San Diego. On Sunday afternoon in Lucas Oil Stadium, Jim Caldwell proved all the doubters true. In pulling Peyton Manning and several of his starters from the second half of a tight game with the New York Jets, Caldwell—and it should be noted that the coach was simply acting under the orders of GM Bill Polian—took the coward’s way out.
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Last Season: 12-4
This Season: 11-5, AFC #4
The defending Super Bowl champs will suffer a little from the Super Bowl hangover, but not quite to the extent they did when they missed the playoffs three years ago. It’ll be interesting to see if Santonio Holmes uses his incredible performance in Super Bowl XLIII as a springboard to greater things, or if he Deion Branches it from here on out. The defense is still the best in the league, and Rashard Mendenhall will provide needed depth in the backfield.
Tim’s favorite player in Steeler history is…: Lynn Swann’s graceful game may have complemented his name better than any other player in NFL history.
You know who might be underrated: Kordell Stewart kind of grew into a laughingstock later in his career, but the guy did lead his team to two AFC title games as a starter, was a huge part (perhaps illegally) of the AFC Champion squad in 1995, and in a way set the stage for the running quarterbacks and Wildcat packages we see today. I’m not saying he was great, but he wasn’t as bad as most people remember. Plus, he did this.
Remember when Tommy Maddox was quarterback of the Steelers? Me neither.
A Great and Recent Steeler Game: The aforementioned 1995 AFC Championship is the second-best AFC title game of the last 15 years. Kudos to Dick Enberg’s “Not just the work of a week or a season, but the dreams of a lifetime on the line right here.”
If the Steelers were a work of American literature, they would be: Moby Dick. Good, but pretty boring.
Did you know? The Steelers’ logo only appears on one side of their helmet! Crazy!