Tag:Pittsburgh Steelers
Posted on: October 29, 2009 2:42 pm

Shared Excellence Conference?

It’s hard not to notice the seemingly endless SEC – Big Ten debate that rages on Sportsline. I’m not sure when this rivalry of sorts began (immediately prior to the OSU-Florida 2006 NCG?) but it is a worthless debate that shouldn’t be spared much thought.

SEC fans are very proud of their conference and rightfully so. They are perhaps the best football conference in America with teams like Florida, Alabama and LSU just to name a few. However, I get the feeling that sometimes these fans forget that their foremost loyalty should not be to their conference but to their team. Perhaps my perception is mistaken but that is what I see.

Recently, SEC fans have had much to cheer about with Florida and LSU winning the past 3 national titles. Unless you are a Florida or LSU fan, however, there should be little cause for celebration. Did your team win the national title? Was it your team that passed through the gauntlet of a rigorous season to raise the silver football after a championship game triumph? If that is the case, congratulations to your team on a great season. If that is not the case, why pop the champagne? Because Florida won for the SEC? Puh-leeze . . .

The only people that Florida won for were themselves and their university. Their triumph over the Oklahoma Sooners belongs to nobody else. As much as SEC fans want to portray recent NCG triumphs as proof positive of SEC superiority, the victories are not credited to the conference but to the teams that earned them; Florida and LSU.

I haven’t seen the relationship between team and conference so blurred as is the case with SEC fans, a characteristic not prominent for fans of other conferences. For example, did ACC enthusiasts claim North Carolina’s victory over Michigan State in the most recent basketball national title game as a triumph for the conference? I doubt it. I can’t see Duke being too pleased at the thought of Tyler Hansbrough winning a national championship. Did the Pittsburgh Steelers win one for the American Football Conference in their victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl? Hell no! As a Colts fan, I certainly wasn’t happy with a Steeler victory.

Why SEC fans have made such a big deal about their supposed conference superiority, I honestly have no clue. They really don’t need to make it an issue because they are the best conference top to bottom in college football this year. That being said, SEC fans need to understand that they are the Southeastern Conference and not the Shared Excellence Conference. If you’re not a Florida fan, a Florida victory is not a win for you. College football should not be about conferences but about teams. I’m afraid that this important distinction may have been lost on some SEC faithful.

Posted on: October 29, 2009 2:32 pm
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Posted on: December 29, 2008 3:55 pm

NFL Playoff Predictions


Wild Card

#4 San Diego Chargers vs. #5 Indianapolis Colts

Both teams are coming in with plenty of momentum, with each having won at least 4 consecutive games. San Diego, however, hasn't beaten great teams during its streak; the reeling Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the mediocre Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. Indianapolis has beaten teams such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego during their 9 game winning streak. The Colts will be a much tougher challenge then either of the teams the Chargers have faced the past 4 weeks. This will be a very close game and that favors the Indianapolis Colts.

#3 Miami Dolphins vs. #6 Baltimore Ravens

Both of these teams have had remarkable turnarounds from last year and are coming in to the Playoffs strong. This should be a defensive struggle and the Baltimore Ravens will have the edge. By winning against the Dolphins, the Ravens will avenge their late loss to them last year.

Divisional Playoffs

#5 Indianapolis Colts vs. #1 Tennessee Titans

The Colts have already lost to the Titans once in Tennessee. Peyton Manning and co. will guarantee it doesn't happen again. Unless nose tackle Albert Haynesworth is 100%, the Titans 'D' may have problems stopping the Indy offense. This is definitely not the same team the Titans faced earlier this season and the Indianapolis Colts will advance.

#2 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #6 Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers better hope that Ben Roethlisberger gets better right away. Otherwise, it may be a long day for the Pittsburgh faithful. The Titans showed how the Steelers could be exploited in week 16 by scoring 31 points. The Baltimore Ravens will be ready this time around and send the Steelers to another divisional playoff defeat.

Conference Championship

#5 Indianapolis Colts vs. #6 Baltimore Ravens

This game would be played at Lucas Oil Stadium if it ever occurs. In recent years, the Colts have owned the Ravens and pummeled them 31-3 earlier this season. This game will be closer but Indianapolis still advances to the Super Bowl.


Wild Card

#4 Arizona Cardinals vs. #5 Atlanta Falcons

Simply put, the Cardinals don't deserve to be in the playoffs. They have struggled down the stretch and their defense is atrocious. The Falcons have a multi-faceted offense led by Matt Ryan and Michael Turner that will exploit their 'D.'

#3 Minnesota Vikings vs. #6 Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have come in on a roll after torching the Dallas Cowboys, 44-6. Ever since Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb, the Eagles have been playing strong. The Vikings are not that strong offensively and the Eagle 'D' will suffocate Adrian Peterson. McNabb and Westbrook will provide enough offense to win and the Eagles will go on to face Carolina.

Divisional Playoffs

#5 Atlanta Falcons vs. #1 New York Giants

The Falcons have had a great season but they will have their hands full playing the Giants. Overall, Atlanta has had a great season but the Giants have been here before and will get the job done.

#2 Carolina Panthers vs. #6 Philadelphia Eagles

The Panthers are tough in the run game with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Plus, it helps to have Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith in the passing game. Overall, the Panthers will have too many weapons for the Eagles to defend.

Conference Championship

The Giants and Panthers have been the two best teams in the NFC this year. The Giants did beat the Panthers late in the season but the Playoffs is a completely different environment. Who is Eli Manning going to throw to in pressure situations without Plaxico Burress? The Giants have been reeling of late and the Panthers have caught them at the right time. Everybody wants to see a Manning-Manning Super Bowl but it won't happen this year.

Super Bowl

#5 Indianapolis Colts vs. #2 Carolina Panthers

This would be a great Super Bowl game, pitting two very strong teams. Carolina's duo of Williams and Stewart will attempt to run over the Colts but Bob Sanders will be back to plug the holes. This game can go either way but the Colts will be fighting to give coach Tony Dungy one last Super Bowl ring for retirement. That being said, the Colts would triumph over the Panthers.

Final Notes

It is true that the Colts are my favorite team but I honestly think they have the manpower to win the Super Bowl. It is not homerism or anything like that. The way I see the pieces falling, the Colts will get favorable matchups and give Dungy one last Super Bowl ring.

Posted on: December 22, 2008 4:44 pm

Stop Resting the Starters!

Around this time every year, NFL coaches around the league who have lead their respective teams to comfortable division leads perhaps think about resting their starters. Resting the starters is done with the objective to preserve players from injury but the move has been proven to derail teams in the playoffs time and time again.

Unless I am mistaken, the team that best exemplifies the negative effects of resting the starters is the Indianapolis Colts. On an almost yearly basis, coach Tony Dungy rests the starters for the final game or two of the season in order to preserve them for the playoffs. I am a big fan of Dungy but according to Einstein, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." When the Colts rested their starters as in both 2005 and 2007, they have been defeated by the Chargers and Steelers; teams that didn't rest their starters and played the whole season. The 2005 Colts were more talented then the 2005 Steelers and that showed in their 26-7 victory over them earlier that year. However, the Steelers came in on a roll and the Colts were rusty. Due to Dungy's decision to rest the starters, the Colts may very well have given away the Vince Lombardi Trophy that year.

When the Colts played the whole season, they have had much better results. In 2006, the Colts had to battle for a playoff spot, which lead to Dungy playing the starters. The Colts got on a roll and defeated the Chiefs, Ravens, Patriots and Bears in the Playoffs. One could argue that the 2005 and 2007 teams were more talented then the 2006 team but they have had decidedly different results.

Resting the starters is simply a tactic that hinders the success of a team in the Playoffs. No evidence has yet been shown to the contrary. For Pete's sake, these are NFL players and there is no reason to baby them as some coaches do. It's true that an NFL game is always a battle but they are being paid to play games, not to watch on the sidelines. Let them play!

There is no reason to rest players like Peyton Manning, who has started every single game in his career and has missed only a handful of snaps. In the case of injury prone players like Bob Sanders, there is a legit argument to give him the week off but those cases are usually not the majority.

Coach Dungy has already announced his intention to rest the starters in week 17 against the Tennessee Titans. Unless the Colts buck that recent trend, I am afraid they are looking at another early Playoff exit.

As a final note, the past 3 Super Bowl champions have been the New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. All of these teams were a #3 seed or below and had to battle for playoff spots. These teams played through and won because they were playing their best at the right time. Resting the starters causes players to be rusty and that shows on the field. So please, STOP RESTING THE STARTERS.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com