Cafe 227

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

One Shot Wonder?

I really don't have time to respond to this inane drivel, but I feel I must.

Mr. Willis asserts about the Super Bowl: "Enjoy it, but don't count on either team returning to the big game next year in Miami. Both are one-shot wonders, but for different reasons.

The Steelers had to win eight straight games to get their trophy - one of the greatest runs in sports history - and while they played remarkable football down that stretch, they're not a dominant team that figures to be a powerhouse next season. "

In tagging the Steelers as "one-shot wonders," Mr. Willis apparently forgets that they went 15-1 last season, amassing the best regular season record in AFC history since the NFL switched to a 16-game season. They hit a mid-season funk this year after an injury to Ben Roethlisberger ushered in Part II of the Tommy Maddox era. Clearly, Mr. Willis didn't watch a Steelers game all season, because if he did he would have known that Tommy Maddox single-handedly accounted for two losses. If Ben hadn't gotten hurt, it's easy to imagine that the Steelers would have been 9-3 at mid-seasons rather than 7-5, placing them in a dominant position within the AFC. It's also interesting to note that even with Tommy Maddox prominently involved, the Steelers only lost one game decisively all year - the Monday night game in Indianapolis, which happened to be Ben's first game back from his injury. The Steelers were outscored by a total of 19 points in their other four losses, or only about 5 points per loss.

I'm not saying the Steelers are definitely going to repeat next year. They have some key free agents (Randle-El, Chris Hope) who could leave. They may lose their offensive coordinator for the second time in three years. And there's always the element of the unknown - injuries, discord, etc. But to say that the Steelers victory "can't be explained" - coming off a 15-1 season, no less, with the best young quarterback, receiving corps, and one of the best defensive units in the NFL - is simply indefensible.

One more thought - if Indianapolis was "the team that should have been in Detroit" as Mr. Willis claims, why did they get destroyed at home by the Steelers in the playoffs?

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