Inside Conditions: Straight up, no chaser

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AUBREY BRUCE

 

Hey, Hey, Hey, I feel like “Fat Albert.” Well at least half of the name rings true. Why? Because I am a bit on the hefty side, even if my name isn’t “Fat Aubrey.” Last Saturday the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 26-20. The Steelers are 0-3 for the 2013 preseason and everyone is biting fingernails, toes, hot dogs, the family dog and anything that they can sink their teeth into. My numbers say that the overall won-loss record between the Steelers and the Chiefs is knotted at 15-15.

 

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GROUNDED—Steelers receiver Markus Wheaton leaves Kansas City Chiefs defenders on the ground as he flew through them for a touchdown last weekend. (Courier Photo/Thomas Sabol)

 

Oh yeah, the Steelers barely beat the Chiefs last season in overtime by the score of 16-13 at Heinz Field so it should not be a big surprise that Pittsburgh lost a “meaningless” preseason skirmish. Hey was the game really meaningless? Well considering the injury to the Steelers newest superstar at linebacker, Jarvis Jones that injury could have been a lot worse; so every game has a meaning whether good or bad, Straight up……no chaser. Steelers wide receiver and their newest special teams returner Marcus Wheaton scored a TD on Saturday and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that yes. he still eats his “Wheaties” and he belongs.

I’ve been having a few flash backs lately. I decided to read through the Steelers media guide just to glean a few things for yaw’ll. We have been hearing for the past 40 years at how consistent and stable the head coaching job has been for the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. It has been over 44 years since Charles Henry “The Emperor” Noll inherited a wretched ball club with nowhere to go but up. Before “Chuck” Noll became the new sheriff in “tawn” well let’s put it this way you could almost always bet a “Vegas C-Note” that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to be on the short end of the scoreboard.

I was born in the early ’50s and the Steelers were flat out lousy. After Pitt legend Jock Sutherland coached the team into the late 1940s according to the Steelers media guide; “John Michelosen was head coach for the 1948-1952 seasons. In 1952 Joe Bach returned for his second stint with the Steelers, having coached the team previously in 1935-36. The Steelers became the last team to abandon the single wing for the T-formation in 1952.” So much for the stability of the head coaches gig because the guide also tells us that; Buddy Parker was named head coach in 1957 and over the next eight years he led the Steelers to five non-losing seasons.

Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne quarterbacked the team through three of those campaigns, leading the Steelers to a 9-5 mark and a playoff game versus Detroit in 1962, which the Steelers lost 17-10. Parker completed his tenure with a 51-48 record and ranks fourth among all-time Steelers coaches for career wins. Hey “eerbody” do not, donut, don’t believe the hype. If Chuck Noll would have sported three years of 4-10 or 6-10 after his fourth or fifth season chances are that he would have been going…going…gone! When anyone begins to win, why would any owner or management team in their right minds fire or layoff a coach that wins and keeps the players and management happy simultaneously? Let Mike Tomlin have two or three bad years in a row and see don’t you run into him in McDonalds sporting his best smile with the menu memorized. By the way if the losing head coach is White, catch him at Mrs. “Ts” pierogies factory getting those “rogies” reading for shipment.  Mike Tomlin understands that the rebuilding process for the Steelers is based on a very defined time limit and if winning takes too long, he and any other coach will be quickly rebuilding their own career. When players outlived their usefulness Coach Noll might say; “Ben who?” The “Chief” had his own saying, it wasn’t “just win baby.” Art Rooney’s motto was simply; “you better win baby.” There were no irate public tongue lashings from Mr. Rooney. Most of the time you did not hear about your unemployment through the media. You would receive your bad tidings and your pink slip via the Chuck Noll impersonating the “Turk.”

Another stabilizing factor in keeping tradition and continuity for a franchise is for the owner to just function as a CFO instead of being the chief, cook, chef and bottle washer. The Rooney’s through the good and the bad never were egomaniacs. They took a chance and brought pro football and it was a gamble, a huge gamble to a steel dependant, depression era Pittsburgh. I don’t want mine on the rocks, barkeep. The Pittsburgh Steelers are not building, rebuilding, constructing or demolishing, they are, and you can write this down; the Steelers are simply “tweaking” adjusting and readjusting their personnel, fan base, economic structure and their image. The Pittsburgh media has become spinsters. The Encarta Dictionary defines the word spinster as; “An offensive term for a woman who has remained unmarried beyond the usual age.” Most of the Pittsburgh media has been married to their own ideals cheating on and lying to the fans, lying on the players and misconstruing, misleading and misguiding everything and everyone that will listen. If you go to any watering hole, you want undiluted whiskey, don’t you folks. No one should want or accept watered down spirits because if it is too strong, drink something less potent.

Relax boys and girls, if it ain’t broke and the Pittsburgh Steelers are far from broke just tweak it. The wheel does not need new spokes. All Mike Tomlin has to do is put a little bit of air in the tires and we will be good to go. I like my Grand Marnier, not with orange juice, ginger ale or any other mixer. I “likes” my liquor “straight up, no chaser.”

(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)

 

 

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