Tag:James Harrison
Posted on: December 25, 2008 1:25 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2008 1:28 pm

Steelers Name Their MVP

With all the talk about who should be NFL league MVP and Offensive/Defensive Player of the Year, the Steelers acknowledge one of their own this year...again. 

For the second year, linebacker James Harrison has been named the Steelers MVP for 2008.  Harrison has been one of the main staples of the Dick LeBeau top ranked Steelers defense, with registering 101 tackles, one safety, 16 sacks and one interception this season. 

Congrats to Harrison, he deserves the honor.

Source:  Pittsburgh Post Gazette, dtd 12/25/08
Posted on: September 7, 2008 9:36 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2008 9:46 pm

It's Steelers Football Babeee - Week One

A bright day, the sun shining down and in the stands the Terrible Towels were waving high and fast in the city of steel.  The Steelers were facing the Houston Texans for the third time in the history of the young Texas franchise.  The electricity of the day, the season opener at home for the Steelers could be felt by this Steeler’s fan through the very screen of the television as I watched the opening of the game.   By the end of the game, the lyrics from Sweet’s song, "Little Willy" kept playing over and over in my head:

North side, east side
Little Willy, Willy wears the crown, he's the king around town
Dancing, glancing
Willy drives them silly with his star shoe shimmy shuffle down
Way past one, and feeling alright
'Cause with little Willy round they can last all night
Hey down, stay down, stay down down

We had questions going into this game.  Would the Steelers extend their winning streak to six straight games at home for the season opener?  How well will the Steelers o-line line hold up to the likes of Mario Williams?  What factor would Willie Parker’s injury from last year play?  Would there be improvement in the special teams play?  In the end, for this day, the questions were answered.

For those who wondered how well the oline would do without Alan Faneca, that was answered by 138 rushing yards allowed by the Texan’s defense and three touchdown runs by Willie Parker.   There would be no doubt that Chris Kemoetu was more then an adequate replacement for Faneca.  The o-line, for the most part, continued to hit hard, giving protection to Ben Roethlisberger and opening up the rushing lanes for Willie to run.  If one were to ask if there was a weak link on the Steelers oline, it would have to be with Willie Colon.  Hopefully Colon will continue to improve and not miss crucial blocks to help protect Roethlisberger.

Ben Roethlisberger seems to have finally come to full maturity, showing quick release of the ball at times to hit his TE Heath Miller and there was no controversy with taller wide receivers when Ben connected with Hines Ward six times, twice resulting in a touchdown.  If there were any questions about the chemistry between the young quarterback and the veteran wide receiver, it was answered in this game.  At the end, Roethlisberger would have an almost perfect night completing 13 of 14 passes, and has shown that this offense could possibly be a complete, pick your poison offense.

The Steeler defense showed why they were the number one defense from last season and promises to be a hard hitting, topped rank defense again this year.  Troy Polamalu proved that he was still an integral part of this defense, not only with his hard hitting stops in his three unassisted tackles, but showed that he can read the play perfectly when Matt Schaub hit him in the numbers, causing an interception.  One exciting player, LB  Lamar Woodley, made Steelers fans proud with his sack on Schaub, as well as a one handed interception.   However, if you were to ask who was the defensive player for this game, no one could deny it would be pro-bowl linebacker James Harrison with six unassisted tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.  No doubt that the showing of this defense was a great way for Dick LeBeau to start his 50th year in the NFL. 

Also exciting was to watch the speed and the hard hitting defense on the Steelers special teams.  Also considered one of the weaker links in the Steeler’s team, the defensive play of the special teams, yesterday, though they allowed some yardage on punt and kick off returns, the stifled any explosive plays that is possible with the Texans wide receivers.  Jeff Reed was his typical consistent self kicking one field goal and making 5 of 5 of the extra points. 

It wasn’t all Pittsburgh positives though.  Matt Schaub passed for 202 yards, his key receiver, Andre Johnson catching 10 passes for 110 yards, making this duo a viable passing threat in the AFC.  Mario Williams proved why the Texans made him their first one draft choice in 2006.  Williams and the front four played fast and hard against the Pittsburgh’s oline and it payed off twice with two sacks on Roethlisberger, one leading to a forced fumble.  In the end though, Texans just entered hostile terrority where many teams met the same fate on opening day at Heinz Field.

Mike Tomlin, Dick LeBeau, Bruce Arians and the whole Steelers team played the style of football that we've become use to with this hard hitting team and continues to keep them a dominant force in the AFC and the NFL today.  Welcome to Steelers football. 
Posted on: March 21, 2008 12:03 pm

Whose Problem Is It?

It is rumored that there is a law still on the books in Newberry County SC, that a man can take his wife to the court house steps in Newberry , on a Sunday and beat her publically with a stick.  This law, at one time did exist.  Given the states increased crack down on domestic violence and tougher criminal domestic violence (CDV) laws, I doubt it’s still in effect. 

We have evolved as a society that once encouraged the husbands to beat their wives to keep them in line, to ignoring the issue and it just being a dirty little secret, to it being an act that should not be condoned.  Although we have made great strides to educate, prevent and rehabilitate, domestic abuse is still a major issue faced in this country.   In 2007, the National Domestic Violence Hotline released their Decade For Change Report in which they’ve estimated 33 million American women have experienced abuse.

The report also goes on to site that:

One in four women have been physically assaulted or raped by a partner vs One in fourteen of men having experienced the same.

Women are 7 to 14 times more likely to report being assaulted, choked, threatened with a gun or knife, or had their partner attempt to drown them.

The Justice Department had determined that 30% of female victims were killed by an intimate partner, compared to 3% of male victims.

That same sex couples were not immuned from being victims of abuse. 

With the numbers in this finding, it is not surprising that since, professional sports is a slice of American society, that the various leagues and franchises in all sports, would be faced with players who have either abused or been abused by their partners.  The recent release of Cedric Wilson from the Pittsburgh Steelers and the report of James Harrison’s assault on his girlfriend, once again shows that, despite education programs provided, makes no team, no sports franchise or figure immune to what is a major problem in society. 

Indeed, abuse and violence by major sports and entertainment figures tend to glaringly point out an issue that often times is under reported. From the most extreme violence, as in the tragedy with WWE’s Chris Benoit’s double murder, suicide and the Carolina Panther’s Ray Carruth, conspiracy to murder charge, to the custody situation with Najeh Davenport, to Darryl Strawberry’s abuse charges, to improperly accused charges against Randy Moss

Incidents like Strawberry’s and Warren Moon’s assault on his wife, has led the MBL, NFL, NBA and NHL to institute programs and policies to address spousal abuse and violence.  These programs are no different then what employers like the military and various large police departments have in place.  However, the police departments are the only employers that I’m personally aware of that actually fire an officer if arrested on a CDV charge.  Others provide intervention.  Most employers tend to release abusers only if their productivity is effected or if it’s outlined in a morality clause in their contract.  Given this, how far should we expect the major sports franchises to go in reprimanding their players for the same things that most of us would get a pass on?

At the time of the release of Wilson, the Steelers organization came out and stated that they have been taking the incidents on a case by case basis.  Often times in the NFL, a player rightfully accused of abuse has faced with some sort of suspension, whether it’s one game or eight.  In two incidents over the past year, only the Steelers and Rams released a player due to a second incident.  The Decade for Change points out that the situation in abuse is complex, especially since no group is immune from it. 

Does releasing a player solve the issue?  Probably not, nor will it prevent it, according to the study.  In fact, the Domestic Violence Service and Community Partnership Panel suggests we should avoid a simple solution to a complex problem.  Just releasing a player wouldn’t change the tide of abuse.  Can it send a message to other players, possibly, but it can also send a message to the victim not to report abuse because their spouse or partner may lose his livelihood, adding another issue onto an potentially volatile situation.

Perhaps all employers, not just major sports organizations need to join the fight against domestic violence to be able to reach out, not only to the abusers, but also potential abusers and their victims and provide resources, either through health insurance programs or access to community based programs.  Until we ask all employers to be accountable for their employees actions, how can we ask anything different from the the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA?

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