The Mark of Excellence

The Mark of Excellence

Send All Love Notes To:

Who's Online

We have 248 guests online

Search This Piece

Login, Like A Boss

Social Media Up In This B

Dead Men Walking

Listen to TribLive Radio

One For The Other Thumb
It's Not How You Start, It's How You Finish...
Written by Cotter   
December 31, 2013 13:28

I'll try and keep this short, but I can't promise it will be sweet.

As you undoubtedly do not need me to tell you, 2013 was an all-out, full-on, raging, screaming, grab the 'oh shit' handles, rollercoaster ride for Steeler fans.


I couldn't even recap all of the crazy shit that happened this season if I wanted to, but I think the fact that the Steelers finished the season starting their 3rd string Center, a key part of approximately their 1600th different line combination, puts things nicely into perspective.

Still, when things looked their bleakest, that's when the team rallied and grew a pair.

For all of the unbelievable challenges, unforeseen events, and unfortunate circumstances, the Steelers put together a run that landed them literally inches from an unprecedented playoff berth.


So, don't listen to anyone crying about mediocrity.

Mediocrity would have been a season devoid of any excitement, and that's not what happened in 2013.

Ask any team in the AFC if they would have wanted a piece of the Steelers in January and tell me again how mediocre they were.

Sure, all that matters in the end is wins, and what transpired in the first half of the season didn't even rise to the level of mediocre, but what happened in the second half was far from mediocre, even if the two games they lost happened to be the two most important.

And while a full season is 16 games, it's equally true that ultimately you want to end up better than you started.

One game would've made a difference, but the Steelers were in it until the end.

And after a 2-6 start, you couldn't have asked for much more from them.

Things looked shaky early, but once these guys got used to playing with each other, we saw what they could really do.

If sports are entertainment, we certainly got our money's worth in 2013, including record-setting seasons from Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell.

And if the rest of the league is listening, all I've got to say is...

There are certainly some questions heading into 2014, but I refuse to be anything but encouraged by how 2013 ended.

And if you can't handle a .500 season, I'd challenge you to be a Browns fan for even ONE year. 


Now, I'd like to officially thank my buddy Tim for riding with me through the slog of week-in, week-out team previews. I hope you enjoyed his musings each week as much as I did.

I haven't had any backup here at OFTOT in years, and I'd like to think he added an important new voice to the mix.

So, thanks, Timothy, you're the wind beneath my wings.


And speaking of, Tim wanted me to give you guys this message - Thanks to the lovely readers and I'll see you bitches next year...pinky up!


Finally, last but far from least, I'd just like to thank you all for hanging out with Tim and I this season.

The only reason I ever started a blog about the Steelers back in the dark internet days of 2006 was so I could have an opportunity to interact with other Steeler fans after I had moved to New York the previous year, separating from many of my Steeler-loving friends.

You wouldn't know it, but behind the scenes I complain up and down about how much time it takes for me to feel like I've done a proper preview or recap (an officiall full recap, I mean).

But I try very hard to make these things entertaining, and I always find that it's worth it, so I hope you have enjoyed the ridiculousness we've pumped out here week in and week out.

I had a blast firing this old thing back up, and hopefully you'll all ride with me, on to the next one...

Season, that is.

In the meantime, I'd love to make your acquaintances on the Twitter, but otherwise, I'll see y'all in 2014.

I don't believe in miracles, I believe in Pittsburgh.


Here we go.

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

Hi, Cleveland...
Written by Cotter   
December 22, 2013 19:52

If your heart is still beating and you still have breath in your lungs, forget everything that happened today.

It's a one game season, and it's all about Sunday, December 29 at Heinz Field.

All sorts of fortuitous things happening around the AFC today, but the only thing we can control is ourselves, and the odds are still thinner than Mike Wallace's skin.

Huge game for Le'Veon Bell and Special Teams today, late game indiscretions on the latter's part notwithstanding.


Cortez Allen with the pick six, Troy with the clutch forced fumble, Will Johnson on 4th down, Mat McBriar to David Paulson!


I hope the Packers enjoyed the league's early Christmas gift to them on that blocked field goal.

Someone deserves to lose their job over that application of the rule.

Doesn't matter.

One more W closer to .500.

Enjoy the holiday with your loved ones, and let's reconvene a week from now.

Yo, Browns...

You're officially on notice.


Here we go.

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

They Are Who We Thought They Were...
Written by Cotter   
December 16, 2013 10:25
Judging by the not-so-subtle waning interest I noted last week, plus the fact that I didn't post it until early Sunday afternoon, I'm sure a grand total of three of you read the Bangles preview.

But if you had, this is what you would've read...

Potential self-aggrandizing aside, all I'm saying is - just because the Steelers couldn't pull it together in order to sneak into January, that doesn't mean they're going to flame out, especially not when it comes to a Sunday night home game against the division-leading Ben-gals.


And so it went.

At no point in the evening did the Bengals have the lead, and the Steelers scored more points in the 1st quarter than the Bengals ultimately did all night.

The entire game actually might have been summed up by Cincy's Kevin Huber getting uber-annihilated on Antonio Brown's magnificent punt return TD.


Vince Lombardi once said, "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."

So, if you follow that logic, and measure character by mettle, you have to at least feel good about the Steelers' character.

It may not always translate into success on the football field, but character is the x-factor behind pretty much every Champion in sports history.

No one wins it all without the ability to get back up, dust themselves off, forget whatever happened or whatever is happening, and keep moving forward time and again.

And while the Steelers may not be headed for anything close to a championship this season, at least they have shown at various points that - despite being down to a third string Center who wasn't even on the team in August - they've still got fire in them.


Maybe that's not as encouraging to you as it is to me, but talent is everywhere in the NFL.

What separates the wheat from the chaff is that burning desire to show the man across from you who's boss, every single week.


And the Steelers still have plenty of men who are hungry to do just that.


Now, there's really nothing exciting to play for next week either.

But you bet your ass I'm going to be cheering the Steelers as if there was.

Hoping that the team loses out for draft position is just sad.

Shipping up to Wisconsin for a meeting with the Pack in 19-degree weather next Sunday.

Matt Flynn better enjoy his dramatic victory over the Cowboys while he can, because he/Aaron Rodgers are officially on notice.


Good game, good effort, good victory yesterday.


Here we go.

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

Don't Buy The Stripe Hype...
Written by Cotter   
December 15, 2013 11:45

I had written something thoughtful and retrospective for this week's preview, but this morning, I scrapped the whole thing.


Screw* feeling sorry.

Screw* the Bengals.

And screw* the haters.

* - "screw" = substitute a verb with one less letter that starts with 'f'

No one is taking this game lying down.


The Bungles didn't just stop being the Bungles, they're waiting for us to bring it out of them.


We came to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and the Big League Chew pouch has been empty for a week.


Now, I'm gonna pass the mic to Timothy so he can say his piece.

Tim's Tea Party:
Well, the Dolphins pulled an Ace Ventura and all but officially ended the Steelers playoff hopes this past Sunday.


Well the Dolphins and Antonio Brown’s left foot. But let’s be realistic. The Steelers defense again showed its age on Sunday and the rift between Big Ben and Todd Haley seems to grow by the play call.


It never seems to get any easier, but what do you expect? And now there are ridiculous rumors out there of Huggy Bear being a candidate for the University of Texas job.


And all it took was a last minute loss to the Dolphins. You know, the team that in recent times is better known for bullying than for winning anything.


Ugh. Let’s just play out the last three weeks and be optimistic about next year shall we?

As for this week, the Steelers welcome the Bengals to the friendly confines of Heinz Field. The team that for the better part of 20 years stunk…badly.  The team started going downhill because of this play in Super Bowl?

Then this happened on the very next play...

And you know who was playing for the Bengals at the time? This handsome devil...

Fast forward to today and this guy matches up against Ben this weekend...

But the big matchup is between the WRs. Antonio Brown is 4th in the league in receiving yards (1,241) and 2nd in receptions (90) and Optimus Prime (See what I did there with AJ Green) is 6th in yards (1,175) and 5 in receptions (78). Pretty impressive. That means a division generally known for its bruising running game and nasty defense now has competent receivers who can actually catch the football. Score one for progress! This game is highlighted by Steelers fan who are now looking forward to the Draft and Bengals fans who are just happy that incompetence seems to be a thing of the past for the Bengals. But 20+ years of shitting the bed is a hard thing to forget in such a short amount of time.

I’m gonna watch the game anyway.

Lastly, I’m going to leave you with this thought. Pittsburgh just isn’t filled with the young whippersnappers it used to have on the team. The front office will need to turnover more players this year and get younger. With that being said, it may be best to say goodbye to players such as Brett Keisel and Lamar Woodley. Look I love the guys, but you have to admit they can’t stay healthy and the production is no longer there. They also count a lot against the cap. Kiss they’re forward, smack’em on their butt and say thanks for everything but we need to move on. That may seem harsh, but that’s what they did with the likes of Farrior, Hampton, and Smith to name a few. And who knows, they may turn out to be great dancers.


Well, that’s it for me. As always, pinky up bitches!

And just to make this week's preview even more unorthodox, I also decided to include Meeting People Is Easy.

So, have at it, you animals.

Click to enlarge...

Thanks so much as always to this week's stunningly handsome panel!

You guys are the wind beneath my wings.

Now, this week's Miscellaneous items, and then I'm out.

Last week, I mentioned that I'd be using the Miscellaneous sections leading up to Christmas to countdown the top five scenes from some of the choicest Yuletide films. So, this week, it's all Home Alone, all day.

1) Buzz, can I sleep in your room?

2) WHAT?

3) Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?

4) Two, we have smoke detectors.

5) The most obvious of the bunch.

So, you guys do what you want, but I'm gonna root my ass off for the Steelers tonight.


Whatever happens, I'll see you on the other side.


Andy Dalton is a ginger joke.


Here we go.

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

Close Only Counts In Horseshoes And Hand Grenades...
Written by Cotter   
December 08, 2013 16:28

In these types of 'do or die plus get help' scenarios, they always say that all we can control is what we do.

Well, the Steelers had one job today, and they couldn't get it done, even with some extremely unbelievable late game heroics.

On the one hand, it was a pretty tough loss all things considered, but especially how it ended.

On the other hand, it's hard to really feel too bad about this when I think we all honestly knew this wasn't the Steelers year (I'm optimistic, not blind).

[if I had to summarize the season in an image...]

Plenty of great performances will be forgotten because of how this one ended up, which is a shame.

But it's all about winning, and if you can't do that, no amount of individual efforts is really worth much beyond hope for the future and fantasy stats.

Obviously this takes a lot of the luster out of watching Steelers football for the remainder of 2013.

But keep your jersey on, and cheer whatever happens the rest of the way.

Cats up next.

Can't turn your back with the division leader coming to our house on a Sunday night.


Here we go.

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

Meeting People Is Easy...
Written by Cotter   
December 07, 2013 13:50

Hola, amigos y amigas, and welcome to the insansity of Meeting People Is Easy.

True to form, this week I've put together what I feel is a very strong lineup of internet commentators for you - gentlemen AND scholars alike.

Your panel is as follows...
1) Nick
2) Shawn
3) Sean
4) Doug
5) Mike
6) Mike
7) Rich
8) Me

And, of course, this is the part where I reiterate that if you ever wanna come off the bench and sub in, feel free to hit me on Twitter or over email.

Now, without further ado...

Click to enlarge...
Thanks so much again to this week's panel of internet deviants!

I can only hope that the Steelers put in as solid of a performance tomorrow as you all did here.

And on that point - don't forget to hit up the preview right here.

Less than 24 hours until impact, you guys.


Get your gameface on, your towel out, and your mind right.


Ryan Tannehill is on notice.


Here we go.

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

No Dolphin Safe on Sunday...
Written by Cotter   
December 06, 2013 17:41

First things first - a couple of weeks ago, I made a fleeting Twitter vow to start calling Mike Tomlin "HCMT" again.

And heretofore, I've been approximately garbage at following through on it. 

But after the events of the past week - man, all bets are off, the heat is f*#king on, and HCMT is officially back up in dat ass!


I'm not going to spend anything close to the 20+ minutes HCMT did discussing what happened in any great detail.

If you'd like to know how I really feel about it, go ahead and delve into my Twitter feed from Wednesday, December 4.

But I will say - I hope with every ounce of my body that HCMT channels this into motivation for his team.

Playoffs may be about as likely as John Harbaugh spontaneously combusting, but you gotta have hope (on both counts, obviously).

On the one hand, after all of the injuries, soul crushing early losses, and emotional abuse at the hands of Todd Haley and plenty of others, you might be thinking, "well shit, even if they did make the playoffs, there's a decent chance it'd go about as smoothly as that time they got smited by Tim Tebow, so maybe we should just sit this one out."

But on the other hand, crazy shit happens every day, and how vindicating would it be for the team that saw itself 2-6 half way through the season overcome all the bullshit and bring the pain in January?

Either way...

Big time implications in this one.

It's gonna be the same way every week up until the end, but if we have any hope, it's do or die against one of the three teams that currently have an edge on the Steelers in the wild card race.

Also, go Vikings, Broncos, Giants and Raiders.

Now, let's discuss Fernando Velasco to IR.


Oy, what a season.

How many times have you heard of a team losing multiple Centers in one year, let alone coupling that with the rest of the Steelers' 2013 reality?

Take it away, Mark Karboly - "When the Steelers host Miami will mark the sixth different starting offensive line combination in 13 games...The Steelers have used 12 different in-game line combinations as well."

And yet, at the same time, the zero sacks on Ben the past two weeks represents "the first time in 170 games that they didn't give up a sack in back-to-back games dating back to 2003."

Shit is mind boggling.


So, what exactly is happening with the Steelers?

In all likelihood, a rollercoaster season in which we saw some promise, but that was ultimately marked by too much adversity to overcome.

Then again, I don't believe in closing a door before it's time to do so.

I just hope the team shares my belief.


Anyway, I've had a rough week, so I'm gonna cut my rambling off right here and just get into this damn thing.

Follow me down this black and yellow brick road if you dare.


When HCMT referred to Ryan Tannehill in his Tuesday press conference as "Ryan Tandyhill," several people pointed out that it sounded like he had just teed me up nicely for a little photojob.

But after a couple of dry runs, let me assure you, this is not something you want your eyes to see unless you want to spend the rest of the weekend rinsing them with bleach.


Here's all you need to know about Ryan Tandyhill - plenty of yards passing, 17/13 TD to INT ratio, and sacked 45 times, representing the highest total of any QB in the league by a margin of six.

Apparently he's also got some thumb issue on his throwing hand, whatever that means.

And in case you're wondering why I'm not talking more about his wife, who might actually appear more than he does when you Google image search him, it's because I have a non-verbal contractual obligation to the woman who is crazy enough to have agreed to marry me that I won't mention other chicks on the internet.

Shit's rough nowadays, fellas.

Running Back:

Lamarr Miller.


Zero clue who this guy even is.

Sorry to let you guys down like that.

Wide Receivers:

Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, a cafe con leche, a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce, tres churros, and diez kilos of cocaina make up the Dolphins wide receiving corps.

Though I haven't had time to read it, I'm sure much has been said about Mike Wallace's return to Pittsburgh this week, undoubtedly alongside mention of the massive games given up to Megatron, Josh Gordon, and Torrey Smith, who are obviously dogshit receivers that the Steelers should have been able to hold to under 50 yards each just like everyone else in the NFL has (sidebar - let me know if you can hear my head exploding from there?).

I do find it somewhat fitting that Wallace is making his triumphant return to Heinz Field almost exactly one year after admitting that he loses focus during games when he's not getting the ball, but either way - f Mike Wallace, f Brian Hartline, and f anyone who expects Ike Taylor to let either of them come out of this game pounding their chests.


Don't you dare sleep on the swag.

Tight End:

Big Play Chuck Clay.

True story - I used to work with a girl whose sister was the Dolphins Cheerleading Coach, and for Christmas 2011, she got me and my buddies pictures signed by the entire Dolphins Cheerleading squad.

Worst gift of all time, obviously.

What a B.

Offensive Line:

Painfully ironic that the Dolphins had a guy named "Incognito" on their line this season, because that seems to be an appropriate way to describe their pass protection.

45 sacks allowed on what has undoubtedly been quite a tumultous 2013 for them.

It's comforting to know that the Steelers offensive line still isn't the worst in the league despite the fact that Guy Whimper, Cody Wallace, and Mike Adams are all people who have played on it this year.

So, thanks, Miami.

I'm sure Jason Worilds will also be happy to thank you personally on Sunday.


Maybe even twice.

Defensive Line:

Olivier Vernon, Randy Starks, Paul Solai, and Cameron Wake.

10.5, 3, 1, and 6.5 sacks respectively, for a grand total of 21 sacks, or almost as many as the entire Steelers defense (25).

So, can anyone tell me who Olivier Vernon is?


Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe, Koa Misi.


Leads the Dolphins in Tackles, as well as hair ties stuck in the shower drain.


Not Heinz Field's biggest fan, but 2nd most tackles for the Dolphins, to go along with two picks, and two fumble recoveries.

Yeah, we know all about Dannell Ellerbe.


Looks like Nawa'akoa Lisiate Foti Analeseanoa Misi needs to grow a pair, and some hair, in order to blend in with his linebacker compadres.

How about that, I'm a poet, and I didn't even know it. 

Antonio Brown's Lunch:

Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll at the corners, Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons (maybe) at the safeties.

Apparently the Dolphins have allowed the third fewest passing touchdowns in the league this season, in addition to having the second most picks, but that just means they haven't seen Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger yet.


Come get some, dicks.

Head Coach:

Joe Philbin would be a lot cooler if his first name was Regis and he hung out with Kelly Ripa.

I'm sure you couldn't have seen that one coming.

Tim, give me a hand here...

Tim's Tea Party:
Well faithful readers, the unspeakable happened on Thanksgiving. The Ravens won. The Ravens beat the Steelers the only way they know how: have Joe Fucco throw it down the field as deep as possible and hope that Torrey Smith runs fast enough to catch it. That’s it. That’s how.


They literally do nothing else. I mean nothing. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce average less than three yards a carry, and the Ravens only have one viable option at the other skill positions. And they won. And I’m not sure what happened with Mike Tomlin, and I’m not in the business of making judgments about what his intent actually was, but to fine him $100K and possibly take a draft pick away from the Steelers is absolute lunacy.


The guy cut rug on the sidelines, he didn’t murder anyone.


You would have thought he cut Jacoby Jones’s leg off or something. And to all those people that complained about Tomlin doing that - you know what, it occurs everywhere. If it didn’t, the NFL wouldn’t have sent out a memo to address the issue last Wednesday. And there’s no way that memo goes out if the NFL didn’t think it needed to be addressed because other teams were doing it. Just utter and complete bullshit.


I will now get off my soap box. Just wanted to point out how the NFL and Roger Goodell are complete morons.

Onto this week.

Now, faithful readers, is the time to panic.


The Steelers did themselves no favors by losing to the Ravens, but they are still in the playoff hunt. They need to beat the Dolphins to hold the tie breaker over Miami for help in the wildcard standings. They also need other teams to lose as well, but if they can finish 9-7 they have a shot. 8-8, there is just no way. Too many teams to climb over that hold tie breakers over the Steelers.  

And as for this week I wanted to take a look at 3rd down efficiency as my stat. Basically, all this means is the percentage the offense converts 3rd downs into 1st downs. The Steelers are ranked 15th (38.9%) and the Dolphins 27th (35.2%). Basically these two offenses aren’t very good at staying on the field and it does this...

to their respective defenses. It also means that the plays Ben usually makes by extending the play just aren’t happening this year. An offensive line that looks like this...

will do that. The line was doing a great job lately too. I’ve just never seen a run on injuries like the past few weeks. I just haven’t. It’s incredible.


All I’m saying is ask Santa Claus to send the Steelers some O-Line help because holy shit they are dropping like flies. 

Lastly, I want to give Le’Veon Bell some props this week.

[Editor's Note: Tim had wanted me to use a gif of the play on which Bell was injured last week here, but I made a decision last week not to ever put a replay of it on OFTOT. So, I apologize to the Big T, but veto.]

That dude was gaming on Thursday, and he took one for the team to try and score that TD.


I’m glad to see he was able to walk off, and he’s starting to show why the Steelers spent a 2nd round pick on him. 

Well, that’s it for me. Pinky up bitches.

Beaker freakout dot gif, ftw.

Now, for a special holiday treat.

Being that we've officially entered that heartwarming season of giving and Santa Claus and Jesus and shit, I thought I'd use this week's and the next few weeks' Miscellaneous sections to throwdown the top 5 scenes from some of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.

Up first, the G.O.A.T. - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

These are in no particular order, and you can disagree if you want, but resistance is futile.

This shit is science.

1) I wasn't talking to you...

2) Shitter was full.

3) Can I take something out for you?

4) The Hap, Hap, Happiest Christmas...

5) Clark, that's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.

Egg nog or gtfo.

So, the best advice I can give you for Sunday is - root hard for no injuries, no unnecessary grabassery, and no offensive turnovers.

It may be the season of giving for everyone else, but it better not be for the Steelers offense.

Huge wild card implications in this one, you guys.


Gotta get up for a December game like this at Heinz Field.


Here we go!

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

Football is Hard Sometimes...
Written by Cotter   
November 29, 2013 11:14

So much happened in this game, it's hard to really even know where to begin.


Ike Taylor getting roasted like a turkey on Thanksgiving.


Shaun Suisham forgetting how to do the most important part of his job.


Mike Tomlin self-appointing himself part of the kickoff team.


Le'Veon's bell getting rung right before they took the fruits of his physically-costly labor from him.


Having to score like 15 times before actually getting credited with the pivotal touchdown they needed.


Manny Sanders dropping a ball and his team's hopes of winning simultaneously.


You guys, Cody Wallace (!) came in and snapped the ball multiple times last night.

Just let that sink in for a minute.


In fact, I have to assume the Steelers will be looking to expand their training staff this week just to deal with all of the injuries along the offensive line alone, let alone the rest of the walking black and gold dead.


To have the game the Steelers had up until basically the beginning of the 4th quarter and to still be so close to overtime you feel like you can reach out and touch it, you almost felt like, "how could they possibly NOT do it."

But that's what happened.

Let's just tell it like it is, guys - last night, it was too much for the Steelers to overcome.


We built this game up to be the regular season Super Bowl.

And maybe it was.

[Steelers on the left, Ravens on the right]

But, at the risk of sounding like a blind/deaf homer, don't give up hope just yet.

Take a look at the Steelers' remaining schedule...

As well as the rest of their fellow AFC playoff wannabes...
It ain't over, guys.

It's just that much harder.

To blow through eight teams straight from the Bills to the Browns would've been a stone groove, but I don't think any of us can say that we realistically expected something like that to happen.

All things considered, the Steelers lost an extremely hard fought game that wasn't technically out of their hands until the clock struck 0:00.

Against their biggest rivals, who are no slouches themselves, despite what anyone says.

This is just the way it goes in the NFL...

So, try not to take it too hard.


Dolphins coming to Heinz Field in a little less than 10 days.

Enjoy the rest of the Thanksgiving holiday with the people you love.

It's just football.

And anyway, it ain't about how you get knocked down, it's how you get back up.

Get well soon, Le'Veon.


Here we go.

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 76
Copyright © 2017 One For The Other Thumb. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.