Please bear with me. The following words are an edited and slightly different version of the legendary Willie Nelson’s “On the road again.” Let me see, uh huh. On the road again, gonna miss all my Pittsburgh friends. The New York Jets played like toads again. That’s why I’ll be on the road again. On the road again. All my enemies are friends again. Their seventh Super Bowl, the Steelers will win. That’s why I love going on the road again.
Man this is getting to be redundant. In 2006, I was exiled to the frozen tundra of Ford Field in Detroit. In 2009 I was forced to endure wind chills in the mid-50s in Tampa Bay as the Steelers beat up on Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. Here I go again. On the way to the land of Jerry Jones and barbecue bones to witness the Steelers get the ring for the middle finger of the left hand. Unlike most of the “wagon jumpers,” I purchased my airline ticket to Dallas, shortly after the Steelers beat the Cleveland Brownies in their last 2010 regular season contest to claim the crown of the AFC North.
No, I am not a prophet nor do I play one on TV, but don’t you love it when a “vibe” is right? However, I had a practical reason for my premature purchase. I saved big, yen, rubles, pesos, francs, dollars because I “bought in” early. My ticket cost less than $250 round trip to the Lone Star State. I hope all you “true” Steelers fans had ample faith in the Black and Gold as well. If you did not I can guarantee you as of 12:01 A.M. Monday, the airlines had huge smiles when they posed the “Capital One” question: “what’s in your wallet?”
I must tip my hat to substitute offensive lineman/center Doug “Bronco” Legursky. When the Steelers’ rookie All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncy went down with a high ankle sprain, fairly early in the AFC Championship game on Sunday night I thought gloom and doom were in order in regards to the Black and Gold advancing to the “big polka” in Dallas on Feb. 6. However, Mr. Legursky, played like a man’s man. Also, Rashard you ran hard.
Before I let “yinz” guys go, let’s discuss “dynasty” for a moment. Bleacherreport.com had this to say about Bill Belichick just days prior to the Jets smokin’ the Patriots turning them and their resident genius into ultimate couch potatoes for Super Bowl XLV. “Bill Belichick is gearing his Patriots up for another run to the Super Bowl. The Pats have home field in the playoffs and are the favorite to be in Dallas representing the AFC this February. Whenever he steps down from coaching, the 58-year-old will eventually return to his Ohio roots be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” And although he is certainly the greatest coach the 21st century has seen, is he the greatest coach of all time?” He may not be the greatest but he may be the “cheating-est” coach.
How bout dem Patriots. Where are they now? Should the Patriots still be considered a dynasty or did they just “die-nasty” in 2010.
The 2010 AFC Championship game held at Heinz Field was the 11th that Pittsburgh has hosted since the NFL was reorganized in 1970. The next closest city is San Francisco with eight. The “great” Dallas Cowboys have only hosted five.
Most of the post-70s era signs that directed Americans to the road to the “Lombardi” Super Bowl freeway have almost always originated from Three Rivers Stadium or Heinz Field, not Foxborough, Mass. Mike Tomlin was the youngest NFL head coach at age 36 to ever win a Super Bowl title when the Black and Gold won Super Bowl XLIII. When he wins the second one, about a week and a half from now, he will be the youngest to ever win two. This will also be the third Lombardi trophy for the Steelers in five years and their seventh overall. Do you have to be short and white to be given credit for your coaching intellect and prowess?
There was and continues to be an argument that Tomlin won Super Bowl XLIII with the players of ex-Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. That might be true and there are still a few players from the Cowher era hanging on. That being said, current Steelers Lawrence Timmons and Lamar Woodley were just on the verge of playing on Sundays and wide receivers Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace had just began to enjoy college life when Cowher was prowling the sidelines of Heinz Field.
Do not believe the hype, Steelers nation. The dynasty of the modern NFL began in 1969. That was the year Emperor Charles Henry Noll climbed out of the dungeon and began his ascent to the throne of professional football. Prince William and Prince Michael were destined to follow.
Dynasties are not created by crafty public relations mechanisms or underhanded cheating schemes combined with arrogance and skullduggery. When I stroll past the six Lombardi trophies at the Steelers facility, I see dynasty. I am soon going to have to take an extra step to walk past a seventh.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)