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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.

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