Tag Archives: NFL/Steelers football

So hard to overrate

Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines
“With nothing to play for, Steelers show they have everything”

“This game says a lot about our team,” said Ward. “We really didn’t have that much to play for, and they had everything to play for. We started with our starters, and our backups came in, and there was no dropoff. And that’s been the case all year.”

That depth is only another reason to embrace this club going into the playoffs. They’re a league-best 15-1, the best record in franchise history; they have the home-field advantage through the playoffs; and they beat the No. 2 seed in the AFC, New England, and the NFC’s top dog, Philadelphia, in successive weeks. Plus, they’re rolling, not having lost since the second weekend of the year.

“This is probably the best team I’ve been on,” said Ward. “We don’t really care who gets the accolades or success. We just believe in one another.”

OK, I think we’re ready for someone to write new lyrics to the fight song now.

(Thanks to Rowdy for spotting the article.)

Winning’s a habit, not only a dream

Recently, Dan Marino interviewed Ben Roethlisberger and gave the rookie a hard time for not knowing the “Steelers Fight Song,” from back in the 70s. Which I thought was funny — until I realized I didn’t remember it myself.

Oh, I remembered there was one, to the tune of the “Pennsylvania Polka.” It was inescapable in the Super Bowl years. But over time the lyrics and melody had fallen right out of my memory.

Thank goodness for this Interweb of ours: Here are two versions of the lyrics to the “Steeler Fight Song” (from the 1970s and 1995, with appropriate player names for the times). And here’s a site with a piano version of the tune and a bonus alternative “Pittsburgh Steelers Fight Song” from 1960.

Just keep that Steelers machinery humming.

UPDATE: So as soon as I posted this, I started thinking, “Hey, we need an updated version of this for the current team. Like, ‘Cowher and all his men are all on the team… Plaxico and Hines Ward are here for the show, and so is Randle El (El-Yeah!)…'” But then I came to my senses, because the minute we start singing Super Bowl songs and making up dances and looking at flights for Jacksonville in February, that’s the minute we bring down every kind of jinx on ourselves. So, my fellow Steelers fans, no new lyrics! Resist! (At least until the postseason.)

Slightly related: If you were looking for a way to give me a thoughtful gift and benefit charity at the same time, Hines Ward’s used cleats are up for auction this week.

Big Ben’s blog

Ooh! ooh! More Steelers goodness! Ben Roethlisberger has a blog:

I never wanted to play at the expense of someone getting hurt, especially when he is as great of a guy as Tommy is. But I knew I had to be ready when the team needed me, and I am trying my hardest to fill in well for Tommy and just win football games. These games have been a lot of fun (obviously it’s always more fun when you win!) I definitely need to take some time here to thank my teammates for everything they do. They are making my job so much easier, and they really are the ones doing all the hard work.

It looks like he started it just after being drafted. So far he hasn’t been consistent with updates, but the quote above is from last Friday. I don’t expect we’ll see any starling revelations here — there will be lots of “I’m just grateful to be here” and “I only want to do my job as best I can” and “there’s really no competition between Tommy and me, he’s a great guy and I wish him well, whatever Coach Cowher says we’ll do” — but I’ll be checking it faithfully all the same.

Hey, maybe Ben will come to the Pittsburgh BlogFest!

(Many thanks to Exit Stage Left for pointing out the new Pgh blog.)

Football’s version of the Zapruder film

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After yesterday’s exciting win over Dallas, with rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger becoming the first Steelers QB to win in Dallas since 1982, it would seem Steelers fans couldn’t be happier.

But the good news keeps coming. Physics shows that the officials’ ruling on the field regarding the Immaculate Reception was correct:

Fetkovich, an emeritus professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University, certainly believes in Newton, the English mathematician who formulated the laws of gravity and motion three centuries ago. But the die-hard Steelers fan had long suspected game officials might have blown the call on the most famous play in football.

“For a long time, I believed that the Steelers stole one,” he said of that Dec. 23, 1972, playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders.

His mind began to change almost seven years ago, however, when a New York Daily News sportswriter, Hank Gola, sent him a tape of the play and asked him to analyze it for a story marking the play’s 25th anniversary.

He didn’t have much time before Gola’s deadline. But when he closely watched the NFL Films tape, he thought he could make a strong case using the laws of physics that Terry Bradshaw’s desperation pass had bounced off Raider free safety Jack Tatum before landing in the hands of Steelers running back Franco Harris. Harris would run the ball in for the winning touchdown.

Even after Gola filed his story, Fetkovich remained fascinated and kept studying the play. He even did some experiments by bouncing a football off the wall of his O’Hara garage. Again, the evidence convinced him that the ball had bounced off Tatum —- the call on the field —- and not off Steelers running back Frenchy Fuqua, which would have made Harris’ catch illegal under NFL rules at the time.

“It’s absolutely clear in my mind that the correct call was made,” he said last week.

And then it turns out that all the experiments weren’t necessary anyway. From the addendum to the above article:

Both Gay and Fetkovich studied the Immaculate Reception using the familiar, if incomplete, version by NFL Films. But readers of the Oct. 4 article about Gay’s book, such as Vince Palamara of Mt. Lebanon, noted that NBC’s superior video of the 1972 playoff game was replayed during the telecast of the 1998 AFC Championship game.

The replay generated little comment in most newspapers, but Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News called it “football’s version of the Zapruder film,” noting it clearly showed the ball hitting Tatum.

(The October 4 article is also available online.)