I watched the Steelers' big Christmas Day match-up with Ravens amidst the bustle of a house filled with family following a superb Christmas dinner, so it was festive atmosphere in the household, and the two teams sure gave us a whale of a contest as a Christmas gift.
By now, you all know what happened. A 31 point fourth quarter that was an inverse of the Dallas game of a few weeks. This time, it was the Ravens who lost a late lead, only to gain it back in the closing minutes, only to cough it up again in the closing seconds of the game on the spectacular play at the goal line by Antonio Brown pictured above. This was the culmination of a 75 yard drive led by Ben Roethlisberger that took fifty-nine seconds to complete.
In a game wherein Big Ben threw two almost soul-crushing interceptions, he came back in the fourth quarter to lead the Steelers on not one, not two, but THREE fourth quarter touchdown drives to pull out this come-from-behind win that clinched the AFC North for the Steelers and the third seed in the AFC playoffs. Let's pull out all the cliches for this one...when the chips are down, when you're back is to the wall, when the cold wind blows, when hope is gone, and your team is down, and facing long, if now impossible odds, to pull out a victory, is there any quarterback you would rather have leading your team than Ben Roethlisberger? As great as Terry Bradshaw was, and he WAS great, if he started a game poorly, or threw a couple of critical interceptions (as Ben did yesterday), chances were that that was the Bradshaw you would have seen for the rest of the game. Not so with Roethlisberger. As long as he is manning the controls and the game is within reach, the Steelers will have a chance to win the game. He has done it time and again over the course of his career.
So, here is what I had to say back on September 9 when the Steelers were about to begin the season:
In 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to win twelve games, win the AFC North Division and gain first round playoff bye, win the AFC Championship, and win the Super Bowl. I'm not going to make a prediction as to who they will play in the Super Bowl, because, who cares? The Steelers are going to take home that seventh Lombardi Trophy.
If you count them up, there are five predictions in that paragraph:
- The Steelers will win twelve games. Okay, so the best they can do is eleven wins. I'll take it.
- The Steelers will win the AFC North Division. I believe I had that.
- The Steelers will gain a first round playoff bye. Didn't happen, but they will be at Heinz Field in the first round against the #6 seed. Again, I'll take it.
- The Steelers will win the AFC Championship.
- The Steelers will win the Super Bowl.
I am standing by Numbers 4 and 5.
Speaking of Terry Bradshaw, he was in the news again last week for his comments about Mike Tomlin who, according the Bradshaw, is just "not a very good head coach". Is he kidding us? Bradshaw has spent most of his post playing career making outrageous comments about Steelers coaches, and this is just the latest. He is quite good in his role as a Fox studio analyst/talking head, but he has been at it for so long that he as become, as someone has noted, a caricature of himself, and this comment seems to support that theory.
My buddy Jim Haller has urged be to bestow one of these upon Old Number 12:
However, for all that Bradshaw has done for the Steelers as a player - there are those four Lombardi Trophies, after all - I just can't bring myself to bestow an official Grandstander H.A. Citation upon him. He deserves better than that, but he also deserves NOT to be taken seriously when he makes such ridiculous comments as the ones he made about Tomlin last week.