Posted on: September 7, 2008 9:36 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2008 9:46 pm
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
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: May 14, 2008 4:14 am
My husband has this dream of winning the Powerball, buying a yacht and living on the Med. That way it would be easy to travel the world, pickup and move, and give him access to authentic Turkish foods on a daily basis. I’m all for this dream, after all, if we were able to afford to own a yacht and live like this, then think of how much shopping I would be able to do. We understand that the potential for this dream to go unfulfilled is great, especially since we keep forgetting to pickup Powerball tickets.
His other dream, the one where he has a harem will probably go unfulfilled also. One, because he knows his limitations and two, because I’m less supportive of this one, unless of course I get to have my bevy of cabana boys.
I have a dream myself, a little less ambitious then his, but probably will be as unrealized, at least in full, as his also. Mine involves a business. I see myself having this quaint little plaza where there are a few shops (all of which we own and operate).
In the center is a little café that serves freshly baked muffins, scones and danishes, as well as deli items. But the real draw would be the exotic and gourmet coffees and teas. The layout wouldn’t be a normal café seating but wicker chairs and couches with coffee and end tables for seating. It would open out onto a shaded courtyard surrounded by wisteria and gardenia plants and would have more seating, this time with wrought iron furniture.
Off to one side of the café would be an art gallery where local artists could show and sell their paintings and sculptures. Off to the other, another store which would specialize in the goods of local crafters. Off to the back of the courtyard, a flower shop and greenhouse, which would sell, not only unique floral arrangements but also have exotic orchids and tropical flowers, as well as the standards.
There are reasons that this dream will remain unfulfilled, at least for now. Capital, the economy, Starbucks will never go under so that will cut into my customer base and I’m not in the right locale. For this to work and be profitable it needs to be in a town that is high in tourism. This city just isn’t known for it’s tourism. Oh, yeah, and the homegrown flowers, well, my thumb isn’t exactly green right now. At least I can try to build on the little cottage business I do have now and perhaps one day, I can see at least a portion of that dream fulfilled. So I start putting in more energy to revitalize what I do have now. (Does this answer the question where I’ve been the last week?).
A few weeks ago, we got to see hundreds of young men get the opportunity to at least have a chance to experience their dreams of playing in the NFL. For the top draft picks, we know that their dreams will be realized sooner then later. For the other ones who heard their name called late in the draft, patience and perseverance could get them a starting job one day. For those who didn’t hear their name called at Radio City Music Hall, well, that dreams not dead for them yet, since most were picked up via undrafted free agency.
This past week, teams have begun having their mini-camps, getting the rookies acclimated to life as a professional football player. And as we watch and chatter about how effective Darren McFadden will be for the Raiders, how Matt Ryan will do under center for the Atlanta Falcons, or how deadly the Steelers running game has become with the addition of Rashard Mendenhall, we don’t tend to notice those later round picks or even the ones who came in undrafted. But they have their opportunities too.
Could Dominick Dixon come out to be like Tom Brady, a late round pick QB who matured into an excellent quarterback. We’ve seen Hines Ward and Joey Porter, both second day picks, become leaders of their respective squads. Remember how Ward was too small to play in the NFL?
Then you have the hidden gems. Which ones will take our breath away? They’re there. I remember watching the last game of the 05-06 season, Steelers vs the Buffalo Bills. A no name kid on the backup squad, broke free and ran fast towards the endzone. We asked “Willie who?”. The undrafted free agent from North Carolina, who rode the bench through college would end up leading the league in rushing until his injury, during the 07-08 NFL season.
Now mini-camps will turn to training camps to turn to pre-season to turn to regular season football. Many will see their dreams come true, many will only have a portion of that dream realized. Unfortunately, there are still others who have had those dreams unrealized. For them, hopefully other dreams will take their place and be realized.
For me, I’ll continue to work on that small portion of my dream with patience and perseverance, and maybe even help my husband at least have a little portion of his dream fulfilled (time to google belly dancing costumes).