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With the 2019 season now concluded, the Steelers are 19/1 odds to win Super Bowl LV

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 10:59am
Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images

Following two seasons of missing the postseason, the Steelers are tied for the 6th-best odds to hoist the Lombardi trophy after the 2020 season

The 2019 NFL season has now officially concluded and the race for the 2020 season has now begun for every NFL franchise. At the conclusion of Super Bowl LIV, many odds-makers were quick to release the odds for Super Bowl LV. While several betting sites have the odds slightly different, most of them have the teams ranked in a similar order. Here are the early 2020 NFL odds for all 32 team from the odds-makers at www.SportsBettingDime.com

ODDS TO WIN SUPER BOWL 55

1. Chiefs: 7/1
2. Ravens: 8/1
3. 49ers: 10/1
4. Saints:10/1
5. Patriots: 15/1
6. Seahawks: 19/1
7. Steelers: 19/1
8. Vikings: 22/1
9. Cowboys: 22/1
10. Eagles: 24/1
11. Packers: 24/1
12. Rams: 24/1
13. Titans: 30/1
14. Bills: 32/1
15. Texans: 32/1
16. Bears: 40/1
17. Colts: 42/1
18. Falcons: 45/1
19. Buccaneers; 46/1
20. Chargers: 48/1
21. Jets: 50/1
22. Browns: 52/1
23. Raiders: 70/1
24. Broncos: 75/1
25. Panthers: 80/1
26. Cardinals: 90/1
27. Giants: 95/1
28. Dolphins: 100/1
29. Lions: 100/1
30. Bengals: 125/1
31. Jaguars: 150/1
32. Redskins: 150/1

Although this particular site has the Steelers a 19/1, I have seen others with better odds ah much as 15/1. In looking at these odds, there are several interesting conclusions which can be drawn.

The Steelers have the best odds of any team who did not make the 2019 postseason

The only other franchise in the top 10 who did not make the postseason in 2019 is the Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers are highly regarded by the odds-makers at this point due to the emergence of their dominating defense which almost carried them to a playoff berth in 2019. With less-than-acceptable quarterback play throughout 2019, the expected return of Ben Roethlisberger coupled with the Steelers defense has many odds-makers believing the Steelers will be much more competitive in 2020

The Steelers have better odds than half of the 2019 postseason teams

What is also interesting is the Steelers have better odds of winning Super Bowl LV than half the teams who made the postseason in 2019. With the Steelers and Seahawks having the same 19/1 odds, the Steelers rank higher than the Vikings, Eagles, Packers, Titans, Bills, and Texans.

Only four AFC teams are in the top 12

While the AFC holds the top two spots with the best odds to win next year’s Super Bowl, they also have four of the top six. Following the Steelers and Seahawks are a string of NFC teams, two of which did not make the postseason in 2019. If one were to read between the lines, it appears the AFC is a much more top-heavy conference than the NFC who is deemed to be more wide-open.

While it is interesting to see the odds for next year Super Bowl, they will definitely be changing over the next several months as teams participate in the free agency. As well as the NFL draft. The Steelers are also one of the teams towards the top of the list who still have a question marks going into the next season, particularly at the quarterback position.

Last off-season, I placed a very small wager on the Steelers to win the Super Bowl with the odds at 20/1. After everything the Steelers went through this past season, I find it encouraging that the odds are better for them to win the Super Bowl in 2020.

The Steelers defense needs more offense to be dominant next season

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 9:32am
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Regardless of how the Bud Dupree situation plays out, the Pittsburgh Steelers need their offense to do a better job of complementing their defense in 2020.

We have all heard the old adage: The best defense is a great offense. While this statement is often referring to a nation's military capabilities, it is also relevant in team sports, especially the game of football. Military ideology and the NFL go hand in hand. They mirror each other; teamwork, self sacrifice, offensive strategies, defensive maneuvers, and chain of command.

What does the best defense/great offense statement actually mean and how does it relate to the Pittsburgh Steelers moving forward?

Basically the statement refers to the fact that an adversary will often take pause before unleashing an offensive attack on their opponent because they fear the repercussion of superior firepower. The more powerful combatant can oftentimes hinder or stop an attack before it even starts due to this reality.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense made great strides last season, all the more impressive considering the Steelers feeble offense wasn't striking fear in the hearts of any opponent. For the Steelers defense to take the next step in their development next season, that absolutely has to change.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has all the components to accomplish something special next season. They have the look of a top three unit in 2020, with some good health and reasonable growth from some young contributors.

If NFL history has taught us anything, it has taught us this: a offense doesn't have to be great to support a dominating defense, they just have to be good enough.

Superior defense and a solid offense go hand in hand. Looking back at the Steelers during the Steel Curtain years, the 85 Chicago Bears, and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens: we see a common trend. Those teams were built around their superior defenses, but each team's offense carried their own weight. This simple fact allowed each defense to achieve greatness.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense evolved from a ball control, power running game during the first two Super Bowls to a grip-it-and-rip-it, high scoring powerhouse during the next two championships, thanks to the gradual growth of QB Terry Bradshaw. If it hadn't been for some untimely injuries to key contributors during the 76 & 77 playoff runs, the Steelers could have realistically won six Super Bowls in a row. What might have been? Nonetheless, those Steelers teams evolved in unison, on offense and defense.

The 85 Chicago Bears were the perfect storm. They utilized their unique defensive concepts to run roughshod over totally overmatched opponents. Oftentimes it appeared as if the Bears had two or three extra defenders on the field. They caused mass confusion for every QB presnap, every QB that is except Miami Dolphins great Dan Marino. Marino was able to make the correct presnap reads necessary to exploit the Bear's overly aggressive defense and handed Chicago their only loss of the season.

The Bear's offense was hardly dominant, but they didn't need to be. They controlled the time of position running HOF RB Walter "Sweetness" Payton, and utilized a motley crew of colorful personalities to consistently capitalize on the short fields created by their dominating defense. Throw in a punk rock QB, an overweight kitchen appliance, and a catchy music video: suddenly you have the makings of a feel good Super Bowl championship team.

The 2000 Baltimore Ravens hold a unique place in NFL history. They won a Super Bowl championship with the epitome of a game manager at QB, Trent Dilfer. The Ravens defense, lead by three future Hall of Famers, just didn't allow opponents to reach the endzone that season. As with the aforementioned great defenses, they regularly created short fields for their offense, when they weren't scoring off turnovers themselves. They relied on a young stud RB Jamal Lewis to control the clock and wear down the opposition. Are you starting to notice a trend yet?

For the Pittsburgh Steelers defense to reach their full potential they need the offense to pull their weight. The defense can be even more aggressive and implement the entire playbook if they don't have to absolutely fear giving up the big play. Last season, a touchdown deficit felt more like a two touchdown mountain to climb. A defensive back stumbles or two defenders collide in coverage and suddenly you are facing overwhelming odds, especially for a team struggling to score more than ten points a game.

The healthy return of Big Ben Roethlisberger could just be the magic elixir for much of what ailed the Steelers offense last season, which would go a long way toward helping the defense take that next step. Only time will tell.

There is good news on the horizon. The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers offense doesn't have to be as potent as in past seasons; they just have to be good enough.

Mock Draft Monday: The Steelers are in line to add an edge rusher with their top pick

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 7:47am
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With uncertainties about Bud Dupree’s return for 2020, outside linebacker may be a position the Steelers look to add early in the draft

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season has now been over for more than a month, so it’s time to get into the off-season mindset. Although free agency comes first on the calendar before the 2020 NFL Draft, the NFL Combine will occur before either of them. With that said, it might be nice to have an idea as to some of the names associated with the Steelers in the second round. The Steelers’ first round pick has already been named an All-Pro player as Minkah Fitzpatrick can be thought of as the Steelers’ choice. So let’s look at prospects who may be available at the 49th selection and see what they could bring the the Steelers in 2020.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the off-season. Hare are some of the projected positions of need for the Steelers in no particular order:

Wide Receiver
Running Back
Offensive Line
EDGE Rusher
Tight End

There could be other positions added to the list, but when it comes to what position the team will target with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In the latest two-round mock draft by walterfootball.com, they have the Steelers addressing their possible need at outside linebacker with their first pick in the second round. Ironically, the Steelers would be looking to replace #48 with yet another one.

Check out the pick:

49. Pittsburgh Steelers | Kenny Willekes | EDGE | Michigan State | SR |

As many players are declaring their eligibility and preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine, there are plenty of players most fans have not seen play in 2019. Since this is the case, here is a breakdown of Willekes according to lastwordonprofootball.com:

Athletic Ability

Willekes shows above-average athletic ability with quick feet and good coordination. He’s agile enough to drop in coverage and not become a liability. He’ll need to work on his flexibility and bend around the edge.

Competitiveness

Kenny is a second-team All-American and team captain for the Spartans. He’s a former walk-on who plays with a high motor and a chip on his shoulder. He has experienced tremendous production for his position during his tenure in East Lansing.

Mental Alertness

Willekes shows good awareness, instincts, and play recognition. There are times when he can be overzealous with his pursuit and find himself out of position.

Strength/Durability

Willekes lacks overall play strength. There are times when he has difficulty disengaging from run blocks. On film, he looks smaller than what he is listed as. He suffered a broken fibula at the end of the 2018 season, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue that carried over.

Position Skill

Willekes has a good initial burst off the line of scrimmage. He shows good pursuit and tackling ability. He shows a good rip and swim move, a sub-par spin move. He needs to be more vigilant and active with his hands to swat away would-be blockers. While at Michigan State, he primarily lined up as a wide-nine technique and relied on his speed to blow past slower offensive tackles. He’s unable to get penetration versus the run on a consistent basis. He was blown off the ball more than I wanted to see by bigger offensive linemen. He has a bad habit of getting too far upfield and not being able to work back to quarterback in a timely manner.

Overall

There’s no question that Kenny Willekes has one of the better resumes of eligible edge defender prospects. That being said, he has some work to do in order to become a full-time starter at the NFL level. Mathematically, he grades out as a top of the third round prospect, which is right where he will likely be targeted. While he primarily played with his hand on the ground in college, based on his skill set, an ideal situation for him to start his career is to be taken by a team that runs a 3-4 scheme that can utilize him as a stand-up third-down pass rusher.

It should be noted this projection for Willekes was before the Senior Bowl where he had a good showing throughout the week and has begun on rise on some draft boards.

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Willekes with their first pick, albeit in the second round? Or should the team target another position/player at that spot? Let us know in the comment section below, and remember these mock drafts are merely speculation and caused to create discussion among the fan base.

As if there was any doubt Troy Polamalu is a first ballot Hall of Famer

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 6:28am
Photo by Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Thankfully, I don’t have to explain to future generations why that didn’t happen.

Steelers legendary former safety Troy Polamalu was elected into the 2020 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night, becoming the first Steelers first ballot inductee since Rod Woodson was enshrined in 2009.

Looking back on it now, was there ever any doubt that Polamalu would get in in his first year of eligibility? Believe it or not, there kind of was. In fact, all the way up until the final days before Polamalu would learn his fate, there were rumblings from writers on social media that he wasn’t a lock.

In a weird, weird, way, I’m really relieved Polamalu made it in on his first attempt. And not because I would have flown into a fit of rage over a negative outcome. It’s just that, well, it would have been kind of weird trying to explain to future generations of Steelers/football fans why a man so other-worldly, a guy who was such an innovator at the strong safety position, needed multiple attempts to be immortalized into those hallowed football halls in Canton, Ohio.

I also would have felt a little cheated as a fan. I was raised on the legends of Mean Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert, Franco Harris and Terry Bradshaw. Those men were all first ballot inductees, and even though I didn’t get to watch as much of their careers as any die-hard fan may have wanted to, their resumes spoke for themselves.

Woodson’s certainly did as I watched him write the first 10 years of it in Pittsburgh, and that’s why it was no shock that he made it in on his first try.

Polamalu was the first player of a first ballot pedigree I got to witness as a full-fledged adult, a bona fide superstar that spent his entire career with the Steelers while playing a vital role in helping them reach three Super Bowls and win two Lombardi trophies.

Make no mistake, Troy was every bit as important to those Super Bowl years as Ben Roethlisberger was. As Polamalu so often was during his career, he was humble and gracious upon learning he was inducted to the Hall of Fame on Saturday, going so far as to say he was simply asked to be the “lead singer” of a great group of defenders.

Modest, but simply not true, Troy.

This was a guy that kept other guys—opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators—up at night. This was someone opponents had to account for at all times. This was someone that could change the game with not just his actions but his mere presence on the field.

Like Greene, Blount and Lambert, Polamalu’s resume, one that included eight Pro Bowl appearances, four First-Team All-Pro selections and a Defensive Player of the Year award (2010), spoke for itself.

But unlike those first ballot legends of the 1970s, I didn’t have to rely on folklore when it came to Polamalu’s greatness. I got to witness it for myself, and he clearly passed the eye-test. To put Polamalu’s style in a box would do it no justice. Describing the prime seasons of Polamalu’s 12-year career in Pittsburgh is sort of like describing Michael Jackson’s singing career during the Thriller and Bad days—you couldn’t quite put your finger on what you were witnessing, but you knew it was iconic.

You couldn’t coach what made Polamalu so great. The instincts he had, where he just “knew” when to jump over the line of scrimmage to stop a quarterback sneak. How about the ability to creep up to the line of scrimmage before bailing back into his safety spot right before the snap and having the athleticism to be where he had to be when the football arrived?

I got to witness the Ronnie Lott of my 30’s and 40’s, with the added bonus that he just so happened to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.

And while there is no morality clause when it comes to voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, how about what a special person Polamalu was during his time as a Steeler? We’re talking about a man that, by multiple accounts, had his own parking spot at Children’s Hospital and would just show up unannounced on a fairly regular basis and develop personal relationships with the kids he interacted with. We’re talking about a man that has been known to just show up on street corners and clothe and feed the homeless.

We’re talking about a player in Polamalu that was so humble and unassuming, it gave him a certain mystique that only added to his legend.

It’s a shame that Alan Faneca, a former guard whose resume is on par with Polamalu’s, once again missed out on getting into the Hall of Fame. But I witnessed former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson, like Faneca, the gold standard for his position during his playing days, miss out on multiple tries before finally making it in 2012—or 12 years after his retirement.

When it comes to offensive linemen, it’s sometimes hard to quantify what they meant to their team and the era in-which they played.

But Polamalu has his fingerprints all over the game of football, from the vicious hits, the acrobatic interceptions and the clutch postseason moments that, again, were so important in bringing the Steelers championship success.

Believe it or not, even after Polamalu retired following the 2014 season, people were doubting his first ballot credentials, but I’m glad those doubts didn’t mushroom into a growing sentiment that he wasn’t worthy.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame would no longer have the same prestige if Troy Polamalu wasn’t a first ballot inductee.

Podcast: Celebrating the enshrinement of Troy Polamalu, Bill Cowher and Donnie Shell

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 5:27am

In the latest episode of “Steelers Q&A” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over, and the Steelers lost their final game by losing to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, ending their record at 8-8.

Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Q&A Show. On this show Jeff Hartman and Dave Schofield break down all things Steelers!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Talking Steelers Hall of Famers
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman, editor of BTSC, Lance Williams and Dave Schofield walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: Taking a moment to fix the NFL’s Top 50 plays of all-time

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 4:26am
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take at whether the NFL got it right when it comes to the Top 50 plays of all-time.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Picking 50 plays in 100 years is difficult, but did the NFL get it right?

Tim Benz: Cleaning up that list of 50 greatest Super Bowl moments

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Longtime football writer Rick Gosselin compiled a list of his “Top 50 Greatest Super Bowl Moments” for the “Talk of Fame” network.

He had the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl LI comeback against the Atlanta Falcons after trailing 28-3 as the top moment. It was followed by the David Tyree helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.

When it comes to moments that involve the Steelers, here’s what he listed.

3. Ben Roethlisberger’s TD pass to Santonio Holmes. (SB XLIII)

8. Lynn Swann’s catches. (SB X)

11. James Harrison’s interception. (SB XLIII)

26. Jackie Smith’s drop. (SB XIII)

48. Larry Brown’s interception of Neil O’Donnell. (SB XXX)

49. Ticket fiasco at Cowboys Stadium. (SB XLV)

In the words of Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction” …

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • It has been a crazy, and emotional, week in the world of sports...

Kevin Gorman: From Kobe Bryant to Super Bowl, sports world a roller coaster ride of tears, cheers

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Chuck Franciscus was 5 years old when he became a Los Angeles Lakers fan for life, watching in awe as Magic Johnson went from throwing no-look, behind-the-back passes to playing center and scoring 42 points in winning Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals to clinch the world championship.

Franciscus became a San Francisco 49ers fan after seeing Dwight Clark make The Catch on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Monongahela’s Joe Montana to win the 1981 NFC championship game and reach Super Bowl XVI.

Those are the stories Franciscus loves to share to explain why a kid from Wilkinsburg lives for the Lakers and is fanatical about the 49ers. Those teams were his introduction to sports, a bond that began while watching games with his father, Bill.

“My dad was a fan,” Franciscus said, “so I became a fan.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Antonio Brown is trying really hard, and I mean really hard, to change the public perception of him with the new league year starting in March.

The latest Antonio Brown attempted redemption tour has begun

By: Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk

It’s Super Bowl weekend. The culmination of everything good and positive and right about the NFL’s 100th season. So, of course, here comes the guy who indelibly stained the celebration with one last distraction before the 49ers and Chiefs get things started tomorrow night.

In a sit-down interview with ESPN, Antonio Brown attempts to launch his latest redemption tour. And, of course, his generalized apology is undermined by specific statements that make it clear that he’s just saying what he thinks he has to say to get back into the NFL — and that when it doesn’t happen quickly enough for his liking, he’ll do something for which another attempted redemption tour will become necessary.

I think I owe the whole NFL an apology and my past behavior,” Brown told Josina Anderson of ESPN. “I think I could have done a lot of things better.”

OK. Fine. Good. But there’s more. And it’s the more that undermines the apology.

For example, Brown had a snarky reaction to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent comment that the NFL is more concerned about Brown’s well-being than his football career.

“I was pleased to hear that after 140 days that there was some positivity about me because as of late I’ve just been the cancer of the NFL,” Brown said. “The problem child, the guy who gets in trouble, the kind of guy who has the bad narrative about him.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)

  • Social Media Madness

That's a lot of Black & Gold (jackets) pic.twitter.com/jonuZ5IwzB

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 2, 2020

"No one in football catches a ball like that."@francoharrishof sat down with @StanLoveTheShow to talk about the Immaculate Reception and more.

FULL : https://t.co/aey1H43nI4 pic.twitter.com/JeMoWUqy9H

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 2, 2020

The Immaculate Reception has been been voted as the Greatest Moment in @NFL history!

Thank you for all of your votes, #SteelersNation! #NFL100

MORE: https://t.co/fSfFbQIECP pic.twitter.com/MFzOzSXF4P

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 2, 2020

.@tpolamalu, @CowherCBS and @donnie_shell speak about being members of the @ProFootballHOF Class of 2020 at #NFLHonors. pic.twitter.com/7McUtxryFX

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 2, 2020

"It's going to be a whirlwind."@RodWoodson26 gives a preview of what awaits the newest members of the @ProFootballHOF, along with his thoughts on his fellow inductees. pic.twitter.com/se12SKvn6s

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 2, 2020

Our Pittsburgh @steelers @ProFootballHOF Family is very special! @JeromeBettis36 and @tpolamalu are missing from this photo, but looking forward to seeing all of Steeler Nation in Canton soon! #PFHOF20 @RodWoodson26 @MelBlountYLI @francoharrishof @DermonttiDawson @sackmaster91 pic.twitter.com/kBQ2V5LHoA

— Bill Cowher (@CowherCBS) February 2, 2020

Super Bowl 54: Updates, news and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 5:05pm
Photo by Rich Graessle/PPI/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers’ season is over, but we all will be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday to see how things shake out.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is over, but despite them being left out of the AFC Playoffs, we all know the Steelers Nation fan base will be watching the Super Bowl.

With that said, join others like me in the open thread to talk about the big game!

Here is the schedule of events for today:

Chiefs vs 49ers — 6:30 p.m. ET

Who do you like to win today?

As always, remember we are all here for the same reason...

GO STEELERS!

Super Bowl etiquette and other annoyances on the greatest day of the year

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 10:55am
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Updated for 2020, BAD sheds light on what can ruin the greatest day of the football year.

I love the Super Bowl more than hair stylists love getting Pat Mahomes in their salon and even more than Andy Reid loves Tommy Bahama shirts.

It's a national holiday for me. I love old highlights, Roman numerals (You sucked 2016 for their elimination), somebody going to Disney World and the trophy procession at the end. At my count (43), I’ve been mentally cognizant of every Super Bowl since Dallas crushed the orange out of Denver in Super Bowl XII. For every Bradshaw bomb, Montana rally, Manning miracle, Brady drive and Emmitt Smith scamper, I could tell you tales of Jack Squirek’s pick-six, Tim Krumrie’s dangling ankle, Eugene Robinson’s hooker, David Tyree’s helmet-hallelujah, Timmy Smith’s big day and The Philly Special.

Yesiree, the Super Bowl is my special day. But, like everything that’s awesome, there are things which ruin my bliss. Back in the nineties, I knew a serial clubber. This woman knew nightclubs like Philip Rivers knows changing diapers, but she stayed home on New Year’s Eve because she called it “amateur night”. To me, that’s what the Super Bowl has become. The people that never watch a down of football invade gatherings that reduce Super Bowl fever to a touchdown tummy-ache, and that’s what sucks the summer out of my sausage.

With this in mind, I've compiled a list of things that I hate about the greatest day of my year.

The “I only watch it for the commercials” proclamation

It’s not the actual advertisements that I abhor—I actually enjoy some of them. Plus, the fact that morons shell out more than $5 million for a 30-second comedy bit is pretty amazing. But if there’s one boner that bothers me more than sand in a condom, it’s those "I only watch it for the commercials” people.

If that’s you, and you’ve ever said that in your lifetime, you need to grab a bucket of wings and apologize to the fan to whom you said it. It's as offensive as a thong at a funeral. I’ll say it again...OFFENSIVE!

Plus my dad and my friend Darrin actually critique the advertisements like they’re actually on the Clio committe. Then there are the media outlets that rank them. This is not what the game was created for when it was conceived in 1966.

These guys are playing their hearts out for a championship, and there are people that want to absorb every throw, catch and tackle. To diminish that by saying you don't care about the game is disheartening. Even if it's true, please keep it to yourself.

Uncoordinated food at Super Bowl parties

If you’re going to a Super Bowl party, find out what other people are bringing. We don't need four crock pots of Li’l Smokies, or some weird dip that Guy Fieri dreamed up on a three-day coke binge. Also, buying a bag of Tostitos and tossing it on the counter is unimaginable and shows little respect for the game. This is the Super Bowl...bring your A-Game.

Healthy Choices at a Super Bowl

For the love of Casey Hampton, Stop it!! Tofurkey and three-bean salads have no place on my pigskin table. I know my colon needs cleansing, but let's talk about that later. It’s the Super Bowl, you need a seven layer dip that will help clear out the room at the night’s end. This is a day for deep frying and loosened belt buckles.

Equal time for dogs on Super Bowl Sunday

I love dogs. There’s nothing like the companionship of a furry buddy—and I'm not talking about your sister-in-law with the moustache, or your neighbor that really needs to shave his back. But whoever decided it's okay to not only televise a dog show on Thanksgiving, but a fake game with spooked dogs meandering around on a green carpet on this the most sacred sports day of the year, should be spayed and neutered themselves.

Also, what the freak is the Puppy Bowl? Somebody please explain this one to me. The idea of a schnauzer throwing a pick-six, or a Pomeranian punting inside the 20 is, to quote Wallace Shawn from The Princess Bride, ”Inconceivable!”. If I want to watch anything doggy style...I’ll put on some old school MTV and watch me some “Gin and Juice” or...never mind.

Extended Halftime and the subsequent entertainment that follows Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

I hate to badmouth the Super Bowl that allowed me to actually see Janet Jackson like never before, a bizarre Indiana Jones stunt show and Katie Perry’s terribly-uncoordinated “Left Shark”, but this is becoming crappy. Whether it's the outrageously geriatric Who or Rolling Stones making me do nothing but curse the depressing effect of Father Time on once-cool bad-asses, or Beyoncé attempting to make a political statement, it runs far too long and numbs my brain. Last year was even more political with Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi being criticized for agreeing to perform. Hopefully J-Lo and Shakira find a way to coax Gloria Estefan on the stage in Miami an keep it interesting.

For the love of John Facenda and everything that’s holy, can we please bring back “Up With People”? Well that might be pushing it.

The person who never watches sports but complains that athletes get paid too much

I know we should be paying teachers better, helping to feed the homeless instead of paying Frank Clark $20,800,000 per year. I get it. But I can't control the spending habits of the Hunts and the Yorks, and frankly, I don't want to discuss it during the game. When the Red Zone’s a rockin’, don’t come a squawkin’.

Talking about real life

Buddy...I’m sorry that Uncle Stan lost his spleen, your wife left you for the barista at Starbucks with the man-bun and that Jim from Accounting just stole your promotion That really sucks. But can we not bring up when Tyreek Hill is loose is in the open field? Real life sucks sometimes and I know we don’t see one another that often, but Deforest Buckner just ripped out somebody’s larynx. We can instagram, tweet or do lunch...let’s just not sap my will to live. Pat Mahomes is slated to do that in just a few hours.

The amateur color commentator

Also, I should probably mention the Cliff Clavin in the room that brings up little-known facts and stupid bits of trivia that nobody cares about. But I’m that guy and I’m really trying to get that under control...but it won’t be this year.

When somebody puts their kid’s name on a gambling square...and the kid wins

I’m usually the guy pushing the squares and I get where that could be annoying sometimes. But nothing helps a one-sided game more than hoping misses an extra-point so you can win back some frog-skins. Still, there’s always that couple who puts little Cody’s name on a square and that little ‘effer’ wins three quarters in a row, while you pray that your Ford Festiva gets you home to heat up some Ramen for your work Thermos.

Lusting after linebackers...and so on

I get it! Jimmy Garoppolo looks yummy in those tight gold pants, but I don’t need to hear about it or his tight end.

Conspiracy Theorists

Nobody wants to hear your meanderings on how the game is fixed and why the NFL wants either the Chiefs or 49ers to win. If you’re going to go down this road, then the political conversation is on deck. No! Not today, Frank. Not today.

Yelling at other people’s kids for entering the viewing area

If you are so obsessed with the game that you bite little Jimmy’s head off for wanting to sit by their mom or dad during the game...you’ve got to reevaluate yourself. Plus, it’s a good indication to why you don’t have kids or yours don’t want to hang out with you.

Nostradamus

After a huge play or a big gaffe, nobody wants to hear...”I told you that was gonna happen. I knew it!”. They also don’t want to hear your Tony Romo impression and predict the next play. Hell, nobody wants to hear Romo do it anymore either.

The School Night Exodus

I know little Rory and Chloe have school the next day, but the game is over around tenish. It’s one night out of the year, don’t make Dad go home early because they need to be up early for the bus. It’s actually a better learning environment to experience the social experiment that is the Super Bowl. Plus, there’s plenty of life lessons in maneuvering after a late night, If they need that extra hour to comprehend common core math, then an academic scholarship isn’t in their wheelhouse anyways. They can benefit more by having a better social game.

So take my advice and avoid these situations and people. That way you have a fighting chance to enjoy the game.

What could have been: Bold and Bizarre predictions for a Steelers vs. 49ers Super Bowl

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 9:06am
Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Much to the chagrin of most, BTSC’s Nostradumbass predicts what would have happened if the Steelers’ would have miraculously found their way into the Super Bowl.

I get it, the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs in 2019 after a bizarre and snake bitten season. I also realize that there is no point to this article whatsoever and it’s a waste of time. But it’s only a waste of my time. You can’t complain if you clicked on it. BTSC and the author can’t be held responsible if your curiosity led you to read my attempt at humor and fulfilling a quota. Wait, I’m over my quota. I just would rather delve into fantasy than dig deep into how many tackles Joey Bosa gets or if Travis Kelce out duels George Kittle.

I will give you some reality and pick the actual final score down below. But sit back, have some fun and imagine what was never going to be for a moment.

  • James Conner leads all Steelers rushers with 131 total yards.
  • Diontae Johnson records eight receptions to lead the Steelers on the day.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster scores a second quarter touchdown on 2/2 and runs into the tunnel. He re-emerges to the sounds of Ramon Foster crooning “I Got You Babe”, sees his shadow and promises six more weeks of winter.
  • Not understanding why the NFL this allowed him to join Jennifer Lopez and Shakira on stage for the Halftime extravaganza, Miami resident Le’Veon Bell celebrates the 97th anniversary of gasoline first being sold by performing his hip-hop version of Billy Joel “We Didn’t Start The Fire” at a Dade County Sunoco in front of confused fuel patrons and a disinterested cashier. To make matters more interesting, all of the lyrics chronicled things that happened in Bell’s life.
  • T.J. Watt sacks Jimmy G. three times...one for a safety and one for a strip sack and a touchdown.
  • Zach Banner catches his first, and only, pass this season for a touchdown.
  • Joe Haden Interception in the end zone as time expires seals the game.
  • Mason Rudolph throws for 260 yards and two scores, including the game-winner to Vance McDonald with two minutes remaining.
  • The Steelers lift the Lombardi for their record seventh time by a score of 29-28. T.J. Watt is named the MVP.
  • Back to reality. Patrick Mahomes is the MVP for leading the Chiefs to a 41-31 win.

Will any of this actually happen? Absolutely not! Well maybe the actual score with the correct and official opponents. Be sure to post your predictions and your criticism of this ridiculously, unnecessary waste of time — basic or bizarre — below.

Odds and Predictions: Picking the Super Bowl against the spread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 7:29am
Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

BTSC’s Jeff Hartman and Dave Schofield give their picks for the Super Bowl both against the spread and over/under point totals

It is both a sad and exciting Sunday in the NFL. It is sad because it will be the last game of the 2019 season. But rather than mourn the end of another year of NFL football, it’s time to sit back and enjoy what will hopefully be a great game. It will also be a nice change to not have to passionately root against that team from up north.

For the 2019 NFL regular season and postseason, both Jeff Hartman and myself picked every non-Thursday game against the spread and the over/under point totals. Please remember we are not experts on betting or any kind of sports gamblers. We are just a couple of Steelers’ fans who picked who we thought would come through each week.

Jeff and I enter the final game of the season with identical leads in each category. I had a two-game lead picking against the spread going into the Conference Championship games, and with us having opposite selections we both ended p going 1-1. Jeff held a three-game advantage in the over/under after the Divisional round of the playoffs but I cut into the lead by going 2-0 while Jeff went 1-1. On the season, I am still up by two games against the spread while Jeff is up two games in the over/under category. With us having identical picks for the Super Bowl, we will both finish above .500 in both categories and identical records in combining both types of picks.

So here are the picks for the final game of the NFL season. Please feel free to list your choices in the comment section below and play along!

All selections are based off of the consensus data from oddsshark.com as of Saturday night.

T.J. Watt’s 2019 season not enough to win Defensive Player of the Year award

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 6:28am
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro linebacker was overlooked for the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year award.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had several players who could have been considered for the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, but even as great as someone like Minkah Fitzpatrick was in a black-and-gold jersey, T.J. Watt’s 2019 season had him in the discussion for the award given out to the league’s best defensive player.

Saturday night, at the NFL Honors showcase, it wasn’t Watt’s name that was called for the award given to the league’s best defender for the season, but none other than New England Patriots’ cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Stephon Gilmore wins AP Defensive Player of the Year award. T.J. Watt was a finalist. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) February 1, 2020

Some will argue the fact the Steelers failed to make the postseason ultimately hurt his chances at winning this prestigious award. Others will suggest Watt is just starting to prove himself as a superstar in the league.

Either way, Watt had a tremendous 2019 season which had him collect the following stats:

2 Interceptions
8 Pass Defenses
8 Forced Fumbles
4 Fumble Recoveries
36 QB Hits
14 Tackles For Loss (TFL)
14.5 Sacks
55 Combined Tackles

Watt didn’t leave the 2019 without some accolades though. He was voted the Steelers 2019 Most Valuable Player, was selected on multiple All-Pro teams and was a participant in the NFL Pro Bowl for the second straight season.

While winning the award would be nice, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest Watt doesn’t care about the individual award, and is solely focused on improving his craft to help the Steelers not just reach the playoffs in 2020, but to win the whole thing.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the black-and-gold as they prepare for a long offseason before the 2020 regular season kicks off.

Podcast: Will Super Bowl LIV be one of the best, or be lumped with the rest?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 5:32am

Join BTSC’s Bryan Anthony Davis and Nick Bellino for a look at the best Super Bowls they recall and if Chiefs/Niners will end up among the best of all time.

The Steelers 2019 season is over, but the NFL season isn’t. With two teams remaining in the NFL’s Super Bowl tournament...the matchup looks like it can go down as one of the best ever. But will it and what games will it joIn as the finest? In case you are new to the show, you can check out a complete rundown of the show below:

  • Getting you ready for the big game!
  • Super Bowl predictions!
  • Live chat Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

How to watch Chiefs vs. 49ers Super Bowl LIV: Time, TV Schedule, and game information

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 4:30am
Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

All the information needed to watch or listen to Super Bowl LIV in Miami

It’s finally here. Thirty-two NFL teams come together the end of July with one goal in common. That goal is to reach the Super Bowl and now that single game is upon us. While 30 NFL teams have already finished their season not as the champion, one more will join in the disappointment as another raises the Lombardy trophy.

For us Steeler fans, Sunday’s game is merely the end of a chapter before the long off-season until we can see our beloved Steelers in action again. While it’s just not the same when the Steelers are not representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, it’s still the biggest game of the season. Listed below is all the information needed to catch the big game on Sunday.

Super Bowl LIV:

Game: Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers

Date: Sunday, February 2nd

Kickoff: 6:30 P.M. ET

Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Baltimore

Weather: Live weather update

TV Channel: Broadcast nationally on FOX with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman as commentators and Erin Andrews and Chris Myers as the sideline reporters. Sunday’s broadcast will also have NFL rules analysts Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino.

Online: NFL.com Game Pass offers live games for international viewers and replays of every game during upon conclusion with a paid subscription. A subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket gives access to stream games as well. fuboTV also allows you to stream NFL games online with a subscription. NFL Game Center will update the action on a play-by-play basis. The game is also available on the Yahoo! Sports App in some areas.

Radio: The game can be heard on Westwood One Radio with Kevin Harlan doing play-by-play and Kurt Warner as analyst. Rules analyst Gene Steratore will also join the radio broadcast with Tony Boselli and Laura Okmin as sideline reporters. Click HERE to find a local station.

Watch Troy Polamalu react to being inducted into the Hall of Fame

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 5:30pm
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have plenty of members inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020, but Troy Polamalu’s response to being drafted was, well, perfect.

When it comes to the definition of humble, there might just be a picture of Troy Polamalu next to the word in Webster’s Dictionary.

After being told of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Polamalu talked to Pittsburgh Steelers reporter Missi Matthews about the honor, and what it meant. He stood in the hallway of the hotel, where just a few moments earlier he heard a knock telling him of the good news, with his two sons by his side and answered questions honestly.

He spoke of his teammates, his coaches and how he almost feels unworthy of the honor. Typical Troy, but Steelers fans wouldn’t want it any other way.

Check out the short, but genuine, interview below:

"It's surreal."@tpolamalu spoke with @missi_matthews just moments after receiving word that he’d been selected as a member of the @ProFootballHOF Class of 2020. #PFHOF20 pic.twitter.com/EPPh3o8YoO

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 1, 2020

Polamalu was the ultimate team player, and as soft-spoken as they come. But don’t let the man off the field sway you from who dominated on the field. Polamalu is worthy of his first ballot induction, and will enter the Hall of Fame with fellow members of the organization Bill Cowher and Donnie Shell.

The trio could have been a quartet of black-and-gold, but guard Alan Faneca was denied induction yet again. What is special about this 2020 class of Steelers inductees is how none of the gentlemen getting inducted have ever been a part of another organization which resulted in their induction. Cowher played for multiple teams, and coached as an assistant, but as a head coach he never wore another hat than one with hypocycloids on it. Shell and Polamalu were Steelers from Day 1 until their retirement.

Congratulations to all three members of the Steelers organization who were honored with their inductions, and Steeler Nation can’t wait to celebrate in Canton, OH this summer.

HERE WE GO!

Troy Polamalu selected to the 2020 Hall of Fame, Faneca denied again

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 5:11pm

Polamalu has been selected for enshrinement in Canton in his first year of eligibility

According to a report by the Tampa Bay Times, former Steelers’ safety Troy Polamalu has been selected into the 2020 Hall of Fame.

San Francisco #49ers general manager and former #Bucs player John Lynch doesn't make the Pro Football Hall of Fame but fellow safeties Steve Atwater and Troy Polamalu do. @Buccaneers @49ers https://t.co/wHLX75kmi5

— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) February 1, 2020

Playing his entire career in Pittsburgh, Troy Polamalu was drafted 16th overall by the Steelers in 2003. In his 12 year career, Polamalu was named to eight Pro Bowls as well as being selected first team All Pro four times. Polamalu was also voted the Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.

According to the report, former Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater has also been selected for enshrinement in 2020 but not former Tampa Bay Buccaneer John Lynch . It is unclear at this point if former Steelers guard Alan Faneca has been selected in his fifth year as a finalist.

Joining Polamalu in the Hall of Fame class for 2020 are former Steelers coach Bill Cowher and safety Donnie Shell.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers.

UPDATE: Alan Faneca was not selected in the 2020 Hall of Fame induction class. The Patriots Stephon Gilmore was selected Defensive Player of the Year, a category in which T.J. Watt was a finalist.

Troy Polamalu elected to Hall of Fame today. Alan Faneca misses out again

— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) February 1, 2020

T.J. Watt was a finalist for the award. https://t.co/DOKAXjKdxy

— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) February 1, 2020

Podcast: How do the Steelers value their free agent players?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 2:30pm

The Steelers season is over, and it has many asking the question: How do the Steelers value their current free agents?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are ready to embark on the 2020 season, and when the new league year starts in March they will have some tough decisions to make with their free agents. It all comes down to value, and how the team values these players.

This is a tough question, and one where they can be multiple responses/answers to. This is going to be the talking point in the latest podcast.

Plenty has to be deciphered here, and Jeff Hartman puts it all out there for the listeners in the latest show...

Check out the show below, and be sure to comment what you think in the comment section below!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out the YouTube clip here, and be sure to subscribe to our channel by clicking HERE:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Steelers Super Bowl Flashback: Super Bowl XIII vs. the Cowboys

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 1:25pm
Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images

With the Super Bowl matchup set without Pittsburgh, BTSC looks back at the Steeler Super Bowl wins. Next up, Super Bowl XIII

With the flux capacitors fluxing and the time circuits set to January 21, 1979...The BTSC Delorean has plenty of room to take us all back to another remarkable day in Pittsburgh sports history. On that very day, Neptune became the outermost planet, the price of gold increases to a record $875 troy ounce, “Le Freak” by Chic was the No. 1 song on the charts, The Deer Hunter and Love at First Bite was big at the box office and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys were both vying to become the first three-time winner in the 13 year history of the event.

Leading up to the game, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson got into a war of words with Terry Bradshaw by saying that the Steeler quarterback couldn’t spell cat if you supplied the c and the a. But this was a guy that later admitted to inhaling cocaine out of an asthma inhaler while being shown by NBC cameras. It was the perfect setup to a bubbling rivalry.

Jack Lambert, Sam Davis and Joe Greene emerged at the center of the field with the legendary NFL owner and patriarch George Halas for the coin toss, but the Dalllas contingent won the toss and elected to receive. The erratic Roy Gerela came out to boot the ball and open up the contest. From their 28, Dallas introduced Pitt’s Tony Dorsett to this Super Bowl rivalry and the Rochester native shredded the Steel Curtain for 25 yards on his initial two carries. The last one was nearly broken by Dorsett, but Donnie Shell saved it with the tackle. After no gain by RB Robert Newhouse, Tom Landry went back to Dorsett for 13 more yards and it looked like Dallas was definitely fixing to get a timeshare in Pittsburgh territory. However, Dallas tried trickery on the next play and paid for it when Dorsett and Drew Pearson misconnected on the reverse that was meant to become a pass play to TE Billy Joe Dupree. Jon Banaszak pounced on it at his own 47 to stop the drive.

After they took over, the Steelers were stopped on two runs. Then Bradshaw went to the air and threw precision bullets in the light rain to Randy Grossman and twice to John Stallworth. The second of No. 82’s two spectacular catches went for 28 yards and pay dirt. It was 7-0 Steelers with 9:47 left in the first.

With the Cowboys moving into Steeler territory on their next series after Butch Johnson beat Steelers CB Ron Johnson to get to the enemy 39, the Steeler defense (Steve Furness and Dwight White) sacked Captain America twice to force a punt. The Steelers looked to take early control with Bradshaw completing consecutive passes to Harris and Swann, but his connection with D.D. Lewis from the Dallas 30 halted that drive. It was his first ever pick thrown in a Super Bowl, his third.

After forcing another Danny White punt, the Steeler Offense took the field and went looking for dinner again with good field position from their own 38. But Bradshaw got rocked by Harvey Martin for a strip sack on third and six that was recovered by Dallas’ Ed “Too Tall” Jones with a minute to go in the quarter. Staubach looked to take quick advantage by finding Drew Pearson open in the end zone, but Donnie Shell recovered and broke it up. But on the very next play, the Steelers blitzed and “how Roger the Dodger” stood tall and located Tony Hill 15-yards downfield. Hill raced past Donnie Shell for the 40-yard score and a 7-7 tie at the end of one.

In the Second Quarter, the Steelers were moving the ball. However, Dallas’ “Doomsday Defense” was putting a lot of pressure on Bradshaw. On third and long from the Steeler 48, Terry bobbled the snap but retained it. However the botch gave Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson enough time to constrain Bradshaw’s arms to allow Mike Hegman to thieve the ball and run it in all the way for a score. The Steeler QB landed on his elbow and there was much concern about the health and availability of TB12, more than the 14-7 Dallas lead.

No. 12 came out on the next drive and must have not been hurt too bad, for on third down he rifled a 15-yard pass to John Stallworth who, with help from a Lynn Swann block on Bennie Barnes, beat Randy Hughes and jetted off to the end zone and a 14-14 tie. The Steelers almost had a quick defensive score on the next series when a Joe Greene sack jarred the ball loose deep in Dallas territory, but Steve Furness didn’t pounce on it. Instead he tried to pick it up for a sure touchdown, couldn’t get control and the Cowboys recovered. Dallas escaped by punting from his own end zone. Roy Gerela, perhaps the worst player in Steeler Super Bowl history, clanked his 51-yard attempt off of the uprights and crisis was averted for Dallas.

Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images

Tom Landry’s team looked like they were going to take advantage and take the lead as they drove into Steeler territory, but couldn’t do anything with their luck. Pittsburgh put a ferocious rush on Staubach and his offering was snagged by Mel Blount at the Steeler 16 and returned to the 29 inside the two-minute warning. Because of a 15-yard penalty on an unnecessary hit by Billy Joe Dupree on Blount, the Steelers had great field position before the end of the half. Bradshaw took advantage and Lynn Swann was his weapon of choice on this possession (for 50 yards on two catches) to get the Steelers in the Red Zone. With :26 to go, Bradshaw rolled right and found a leaping Rocky Bleier in front of D.D. Lewis for seven yards and a 21-14 lead at the half.

The first three possessions of the third quarter ended in punts as amped-up defenses and tempers flared along the way. On the fourth possession, “America’s Team” mounted a drive behind Dorset’s legs that had “the Steel Curtain” about to break. On third down at the Steeler 10, Scott Laidlaw delivered a shot to Lambert in the ribs that knocked the future Hall of Famer off course, thus freeing Jackie Smith to be all alone in the middle of the end zone. But the future HOF TIght End of 16 years dropped the soft pass and the Cowboys settled for a 27-yard Raphael Septien field goal. The play would go down as one of the biggest blunders in Super Bowl lore. Many Cowboys fans cite this instance for being the reason that their team lost the game, however it would have only tied the score with more than a quarter left of action. It was now Steelers 21 and the Cowboys 17.

Photo by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

There was plenty of scoring in the Fourth Quarter, but it started with consecutive punts. A controversial pass interference penalty on Bennie Barnes while covering Swann led to a 28-yard gain. But on third down, Pittsburgh suffered a delay of game penalty. Hollywood ignored the whistle and slammed Bradshaw to the Miami turf. It was a move that Franco Harris took exception too and the two opposing players had words. Now with ten yards to go, it isn’t typical to run the ball. But an angry Harris was set free on a trap by Mike Webster, Ray Pinney and Gerry “Moon” Mullins and scored from 22 out. On the play, Charlie Waters ran into an official preventing from getting to Harris. With 7:10 remaining, Pittsburgh held a 28-17 advantage.

Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images

Roy Gerela squibbed the kick. Not sure if it was behind or if he was merely being Roy Gerela, but it worked when it bounced off of the casted-hand of Randy White playing on Special Teams. Dennis “Dirt” Winston recovered and the Steelers had the ball on the Dallas 18. Terry Bradshaw, who never had a 300-yard passing game at this juncture in his career, got it immediately with an 18-yard TD pass to Lynn Swann. The score was now 35-17 with 6:51 remaining on the clock.

Dallas, now in desperation mode, went to Dorsett and the air hoping for a miracle. Despite the Banaszak Bunch celebrating the second sack perpetrated by their hero, the Cowboys put together a 4:24 second drive that culminated in a seven-yard BillyJoe Dupree touchdown catch from Staubach. After Robert Thurman recovered with 2:27 left in the game, the Cowboys scored again when Butch Johnson hauled-in a Staubach throw from four-yards out. But only :22 remained and the world knew that another onside kick was coming with the Cowboys trailing by four points. Rocky Bleier surehanded the attempt and the Steelers, by a score of 35-31, were three-time champions and again the toast of the town.

As for me, I was seven and this was the first Steelers Super Bowl that I was cognizant of and fully engaged. My love affair with this team officially began this day and I’ve never been the same.

Which team are Steelers’ fans pulling for in Super Bowl LIV?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 11:05am
Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Are Steelers’ fans pulling for an AFC team which may be a thorn in their side for years to come or the franchise who can also reach six titles?

We have finally reached Super Bowl Weekend. It’s sad to think we only have one game remaining in the 2019 season before the long off-season. It will be six months until the Steelers (supposedly) take the field for the Hall of Fame game in August, so we better enjoy any NFL football we can get. So which team do you find yourself pulling for in Super Bowl LIV? Before making a decision, let’s take a look at how these two teams line up historically with the Steelers.

Kansas City Chiefs AFC #2 seed

The Chiefs and Steelers last played in Week 2 of the 2018 season when the Chiefs jumped out to a 21-point lead only to find the Steelers tie up the game just before halftime. Although the Steelers went on to lose the game, they have a general pattern of three wins to one loss against the Chiefs over the last decade. The only playoff matchup in that time was in 2016 when the Steelers had the 18-16 victory in Kansas City. So while the Chiefs have become a force to be dealt with in the AFC, there isn’t a major rivalry with the Steelers at this point. Now that the Chiefs are representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, they will become the team to beat in 2020 across the conference. Because of the way the schedule falls, the only way the Steelers and Chiefs can meet in 2020 (other than the preseason) would be in the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers NFC #1 seed

Although they played in 2019, the Steelers don’t have a large history with the San Francisco 49ers. The Steelers had their chances in the 24-20 loss in Levi’s Stadium as a team who was looking for an identity. It was the first game Ben Roethlisberger did not start since Week 17 of the 2017 season, and Minkah Fitzpatrick was playing in his first game in a Steelers’ uniform after only three practices. Since 2000, the Steelers matchups with the 49ers have fallen in line where the home team is victorious. The biggest factor when it comes to the 49ers winning the Super Bowl would be them achieving a sixth Lombardi Trophy to match the Steelers. But with the Patriots already in a tie with the Steelers, does it really matter if there is another team in the mix?

So there are the teams playing in Super Bowl LIV and their connection to the Steelers. Are Steelers’ fans pulling of one team over another, or does the winner not really matter? Make sure you vote in the poll and give your thoughts in the comments below.

Pittsburgh Steelers Fact or Fiction: Another Steeler-less Super Bowl Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 9:42am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

BTSC takes five bold statements surrounding the current state of the team and labels them as Fact or Fiction.

It sucks not being able to watch the Steelers in the Super Bowl again this season. Oh yeah, that’s a definite fact. However, the Steelers brass is working right now to try and get back to the big one so Steeler Nation could spend their hard-earned wages on Super Bowl memorabilia once again. A lot would have to happen though. BTSC takes some bold statements on this and more and labels them as fact or fiction. Are they on point? Only time will tell.

The Steelers will have five preseason contests in 2020 Fact

Pittsburgh last played in this contest in 2015 against the Miinnesota Vikings when Jerome Bettis was enshrined. With Bill Cowher, Donnie Shell and Troy Polamalu all getting gold jackets and bronze busts, the NFL will want to capitalize on the greatest fan base in football gathering in Canton for this contest. Art II thinks it is gonna happen. So, I’d put money on it.

Without a first-round choice in 2020, the Steelers will be big players in free agency Fiction

With Minkah Fitzpatrick already penciled in as the 18th overall pick and top 2020 selection of the Steelers, it would seem logical that the Steelers would be wanting to bring in a top-flight player in as a free agent to help the pass rush, replenish the offensive line or added firepower to the offense. However, the Steelers are in cap-peril once again and the expiring CBA won’t allow them to extend deals to clear space like they typically do. Sure it’s needed this season more than ever, but it might not be possible.

There is likely going to be turnover on the coaching staff Fiction

While I think there should be, I need to face the fact that my opinion doesn’t matter one iota. Randy Fichtner’s longevity hinges on that of Ben Roethlisberger’s. In fact, should Ben return and flourish...Randyland may be open for business even longer. He’s a protected man right now. Keith Butler’s spot was saved when Minkah Fitzpatrick solidified his fledgling unit. As for ST Coach Danny Smith Jr., he obviously has dirt or nude photos on somebody ranking high in Pittsburgh.

Mike Tomlin will surpass Bill Cowher on the Steelers all-time wins list in 2021 Fact

I could be wrong on this, but I don’t foresee the Steelers plummeting to earth with two losing seasons in the next two years. Coach T needs 17 wins to overtake the Hall of Famer. With as paltry as a 9-7 and an 8-8, he vaults into second place. Tomlin could tie it with a season of 16-0, but that’s as likely as Bubby Brister being enshrined in Canton.

B.J. Finney is set to make big money this offseason and it needs to be in Pittsburgh Fact

The Steelers are getting long in the tooth on the offensive line and the versatile Finney could be the free agent of their own that the Steelers choose to keep, even over Javon Hargrave and Bud Dupree. Veteran Ramon Foster is likely not in the plans and the Steelers need stability in his Left Guard spot. No. 67 has shown enough in his tenure that he could ably fill the vacancy.

Are these statements valid? We will soon see. What matters most is your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below.

PFF has high praise for Ben Roethlisberger on their list of best QB Super Bowl performances

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 8:25am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus hasn’t been around for all 100 years of the NFL, but they graded out the best QB Super Bowl performances since their inception.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) has taken the NFL world by storm the past few seasons. What once was a punch line for many due to their “grades” every week has turned into outlets like ESPN and NBC using their grades and rankings on a weekly basis.

PFF hasn’t been around since the NFL was started 100 years ago, but since they have been in existence they have been grading players in their own, unique way. Some debate them, hate them and ignore them, but they have proven their validity through their recent longevity.

With the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers set to square off in Super Bowl 54 Sunday, the folks at PFF went back and graded all the Super Bowl quarterback performances since they started grading players. And, you guessed it, Ben Roethlisberger was on the list more than once.

Check out where PFF had Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl performances ranked on their all-time list:

First stop? Super 43, obviously...

T6. BEN ROETHLISBERGER, PITTSBURGH STEELERS — SUPER BOWL XLIII

In his Super Bowl performance against the Packers, Roethlisberger was underperforming for just one quarter. In his first one against the Cardinals, he was underperforming throughout his first three by producing just a 69.1 passing grade. But as we know, that didn’t hold in quarter four. Roethlisberger improved his grade to 90.9 and produced two scores in the final three minutes, which included one of the best touchdowns in Super Bowl history: his big-time throw touchdown to Santonio Holmes to secure the win.

For those who are looking for the Super Bowl 40 ranking, you might want to keep looking. If you forgot how poor Roethlisberger played in that game, outside of a touchdown plunge and a deep pass to Hines Ward, you might want to find some highlights to remind you.

No, the next stop is actually a game the Steelers lost, to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 45. Yeah, this one still stings, but Roethlisberger rebounded from an awful start to the game and almost won their 7th Super Bowl.

9. BEN ROETHLISBERGER, PITTSBURGH STEELERS — SUPER BOWL XLV

The first quarter of Super Bowl XLV for Roethlisberger did not go the way he or anyone else expected. He had a pick-six when he was hit while throwing and just a 49.2 passing grade while watching the Packers jump out to a 14-0 lead. After that, though, Roethlisberger rallied and put up an 89.1 passing grade the rest of the way. The Steelers came up short and failed to execute a game-winning drive, but Roethlisberger still got them back in the game to the point where they had a shot.

When looking over this list it became evident just how important quarterback play is when it comes to winning a Lombardi trophy. Sure, Jimmy Garaffolo threw just 8 passes in the NFC Championship game, but if they want to win the Super Bowl they’ll need more from their signal caller.

As for the Steelers, they are hoping for just a couple more seasons under the sun with Roethlisberger at the helm. But can he get the job done at a championship level? That has yet to be seen.

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