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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Monday, January 21, 2002

Pittsburgh Steelers

Defeated the Baltimore Ravens.  Woo!

(Since we’ve had a long off-topic thread about football anyway).  Does anyone really think that the Steelers beating the Rams wouldn’t be a tremendous upset?  I’m a Steeler fan and I don’t think they have a prayer at stopping the offense short of committing numerous face mask penalties on Faulk and Warner, hoping to rip their heads off.

Dan Szymborski Posted: January 21, 2002 at 02:07 AM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 21, 2002 at 02:24 AM (#552983)
I think the team with the best chance of beating the Rams just got annihilated by them. Since the St. Louis offense is pretty well unstoppable, you need to be able to try to keep up with them, and win 42-35 or something. I thought Green Bay had the best chance to do that (and Favre had a better day than Warner in just about every respect except distinguishing receivers from defenders). Instead, they ended up looking like the Green Bay Colts.

Still, I think this is one of those years where the best team in each conference is the best by a huge margin, and it could be a good Super Bowl (forgive me for so boldly assuming that it will involve Pittsburgh and St. Louis) if Pittsburgh's defense can hold them off enough that their offense has a chance to keep pace. But if you ask me, the NFC championship game happened today.
   2. John Posted: January 21, 2002 at 02:54 AM (#552984)
I believe the Steelers can give the Rams a pretty good game, and could very well upset the Rams. The Rams offense really didn't do too much today - Brett Favre played the worst game I've ever seem him play and just kept giving the Rams points (not a very effective strategy against the Rams).

The Steelers offense is sneaky good - very good. Not only do they move the ball almost at will - they do it 6, 8 , 10 yards at a time and eat up clock. Their offense acts as their defense in a way in that they keep the other team's offense off the field for long stretches of time.
   3. Christopher Posted: January 21, 2002 at 03:57 AM (#552988)
Heard several times on the broadcast that Art Modell is up for the Hall of Fame. Last time I checked the HOF is in Canton, Ohio, just an hours drive away from Cleveland. Should be an interesting induction speech. Anyone want to set an over/under for how many hours the building will stand after he goes in?
   4. Alan Posted: January 21, 2002 at 04:12 AM (#552989)
Modell will either have to tape his speech somewhere a long way from Cleveland or he'll need a popemobile-ish bubble. Maybe he could borrow the one Kathy Lee Gifford used when she went to South Park. Beefcake!
   5. Benji Posted: January 21, 2002 at 04:13 AM (#552990)
Why are the rams so awesome? Because they built the team through the draft with a PLAN in mind. If only baseball teams could do that. If a certain GM ran the Rams he would've traded Torry Holt for Andre Rison, Orlando Pace for Jumbo Elliott and signed William Perry to play first base...I mean nose tackle. When I see Mo I think Fridge.
   6. J. Michael Neal Posted: January 21, 2002 at 03:38 PM (#552994)
Ian,

The Eagles need to read Tuesday Morning Quarterback, and his section, "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again." Getting lots of pressure on Warner in Week 1 is one thing; blitzing 65% of the time now is just asking to have receivers running 70 yards after they catch the ball.

Pittsburgh is, I think, the team most likely to give the Rams a really good game. Base 3-4 might be a better way to play them than base 4-3. The Steelers do a really good job of disguising blitzes and non-blitzes. They don't blitz so often. And they're fast.

On the other side of the ball, I'm not sure that the Rams defense matches up as well against Pittsburgh's style. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but that Steelers' O-Line is really, really good. While Chris Fuamata-Ma'afala may have the best name in football, I don't think that he and Zereoue have become world-beaters by themselves.
   7. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 21, 2002 at 04:28 PM (#552997)
I just have a gut feeling that the Pats will pull off the upset over the Steelers just to set up the normal NFC steamrolling in the Super Bowl. I think either the Eagles or Steelers could beat the Rams, if all their ducks line up in a row, but I've endured too much Yankee agony in the past couple of years to hope for an upset. (I keep forgetting I have the Rams in my family pool, so I want them to win.)
   8. Alan Posted: January 21, 2002 at 05:28 PM (#553002)
Michael, when they want to, the Rams have a great running game. Marshall Faulk has averaged over 5 yards per carry each season he's been with the Rams. The thing is, they've had no need to rely on the run, and therefore haven't. And I wouldn't really say the offense is geared around the QB. I'd say it's geared more towards the wide outs and Faulk as a receiver. On the "Rick Helling" thread there is a running conversation about just how good Kurt Warner is, and I don't think he's the reason the Rams are successful.

Furthermore, people forget about just how good the Rams defense is, because their offense is so incredible. They ranked 6th in the league in opponents' points per game and 2nd in yards allowed. Very good, even when considering the weakness of the Rams division offensively.

As for the most overrated stat in the sport, I think I'd actually go with TDs. It seems to me that touchdowns for any offensive player(QB, HB, TE, WR) that generally gets a lot of touches is based more on chance and on the rest of the team's offense. Why should a player be penalized for only having 1 touchdown(Keyshawn) when the rest of his team's offense can't move the ball. Past the surface, I don't think a 20 yard TD pass or run is much more valuable than a 20 yard pass or run from midfield. Or to make myself clearer, if Emmit Smith runs for a 15 yard touchdown, does that take more skill than it would to get a 15 yard gain from his own 20?
   9. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 21, 2002 at 05:30 PM (#553003)
Tuesday Morning Quarterback is one of a series of excellent weekly sports articles published at Slate.com. Some of the baseball articles are even sabermetrically (gasp) influenced.
   10. J. Michael Neal Posted: January 21, 2002 at 07:48 PM (#553008)
Alan,

You didn't address the point I actually made. Very consistently, if Warner is healthy, the Rams look great. If he's not playing, or is obviously playing at well less than full health, they look weak. This holds true whether or not they have a good defense; check their record last year when he was healthy vs. when he wasn't. It has more correlation than Faulk being healthy. Hence, I think that Warner is the guy that the Rams' offense revolves around.

Well, him and the line; I don't think that it's an accident that, like the Steelers, anyone the Rams seem to put at running back seems to do well.

A.C.,

"Stop Me Before I Blitaz Again" doesn't mean never blitz, but it does mean more than not blitzing in third-and-long. TMQ (in analysis that matches my own observations) points out that against most NFL caliber QBs, blitzing should be the exception rather than the rule. If good QBs know that the blitz is coming, they can take the defense apart. The Eagles blitz about 65% of the time; this can work against some guys (see: Matthews, Shane), or some offensive schemes (see: Buccaneers, City of Tampa), but not against a high-powered attack run by a QB good at making quick decisions. It should be noted that the Eagles defense looks better than it is this year since their schedule looks like a Who's Who of befuddled signal callers.
   11. Alan Posted: January 21, 2002 at 08:18 PM (#553009)
J. Michael,

From 1999-2001, Kurt Warner made 48 out of a possible 53 starts(including playoffs). The Rams record in the games he started is 39-9. In games he didn't start they are 2-3. To be more specific, the only year Warner didn't start all 16 games was 2000. That year, in 12 starts(including playoffs), he went 8-4, compared to the 2-3 record the Rams had when he wasn't playing.

In that same span, Faulk played started 49 of a possible 53 games. The Rams record when he played was 39-10. When he didn't, they were 2-2. Is that enough to base a conclusion on? I sure don't think so.
   12. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 21, 2002 at 08:40 PM (#553010)
As football sabermetrics goes...

Is there anyone out there but me who thinks Kris Brown is partially a victim of park effects? Over the last two seasons, played in Three Rivers Stadium, Brown converted on 84.7% of his field goals. In his first season in the new stadium, his effectiveness decreases dramatically. Brown was 16/20 on the road this year (80%), but only 14/24 at home (58.3%). It's not like Brown is the only kicker to have trouble at Heinz Field, either. Game-by-game performances of all visiting kickers attempting field goals at Heinz Field, followed by their success rate, for season and career:
   13. Alan Posted: January 21, 2002 at 09:07 PM (#553012)
(Interesting stuff. OTOH, I'm sure you know that basing any kind of a conclusion on a sample size of 12 is pretty dicey. Let's see what happens next year.)

That's the problem with giving a good statistical analysis of football. With the amount of stats you get in one baseball season, you need 16 football seasons to get. It makes it very difficult to analyse players and league numbers. I know I'm stating the obvious, but it's annoying, because a lot of work could be done with the statistical analysis of football.
   14. scruff Posted: January 21, 2002 at 10:15 PM (#553013)
I think the Eagles and Steelers both have a decent chance against the Rams. I think the Steelers will win.

First, the turf is overrated. The Rams only playoff loss the last two years and both of their losses this year were on turf, in domes. They were nearly upset in Super Bowl XXXIV in a dome.

They are beatable. A team with a defense that can pressure Warner, an outstanding secondary and an offense that can run the ball usually gives this team fits. There aren't too many teams like that in the NFL. The Eagles, the Bucs when they are running well, the Steelers. The Saints earlier in the year and last year.

I disagree vehemently with the person that said the Packers were well suited to beat them. This was an awful matchup for Green Bay. You aren't going to outgun the Rams, you need to play to get to Warner, and the Pack wasn't well suited to that. Farve is too much of a gambler to beat Warner at his own game. The Packers had no chance yesterday.

The Eagles were losing 17-3 in the 4th quarter back in September, then put together two outstanding drives to force the game into OT. The Titans had a similar path in Super Bowl XXXIV but came up a yard short.

Troy Vincent is a key element here. The Eagles have no chance without him in the lineup at 100%.

A Rams/Steeler matchup is eerily similar to Super Bowl XXV (Buffalo/Giants). The Bills were a 7 point favorite, and after their anneihalation of the Raiders in the AFC title game, everyone thought they were ready for the throne. The Giants had deceptively good receivers, a mobile QB that could make plays (Hostetler), an excellent running game and monster defense.

The hated (by me) Giants fell behind early (12-3), but then put together two outstanding drives, to end the first half, and start the second half, eating about 18-20 minutes off the clock. By the time Kelly and Thurman (who should have been the MVP) got the ball back, it was 17-12, with less than 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. They scored to go up 19-17, but the Giants ate the clock again, and Bahr kicked the field goal. The Bills got the ball back one last time, but ran out of time, and Norwood missed the 47-yarder.

That's how I can see the Steelers beating the Rams. Hang around and then ball control them to death. I think the Steelers are going to win the whole thing. I love the ball control team vs. the offensive juggernaught, when the ball control team has a defense the caliber of the 2001 Steelers or the 1990 Giants or the 1985 Bears.

Look at your major Super Bowl upsets.

1990 Giants/Bills - already discussed.

1983 (season) Raiders/Redskins. Marcus Allen and a tenacious D upset the best one year offense before the Rams of 1999-2001.

1997 Broncos/Packers. Terrell Davis puts together the best one man show in the history of the Super Bowl, and again, one of the best defenses in the NFL upset the defending champs.

1995 Steelers/Cowboys (almost). Great running game and the best single player defensive Super Bowl game I've ever seen (Levon Kirkland, who should have been the MVP) nearly beat the 'Boys, but lose because of Neil O'Donnell's gifts.

1999 Titans/Rams (almost). Eddie George and a nasty defense come up 1 yard short.

In three of the five games, the team that was upset or nearly upset had won a Super Bowl either the year before or two years before. In every game, the upsetee was a team that was know for it's offense, the upsetter had a great running game.

This is coming from a Cowboy/Bills fan, but I think the Steelers are probably the best NFL team since the 1994 49ers or the 1992-93 Cowboys. Their only weaknesses are Chad Scott and Kris Brown. If Brown makes an extra point vs. the Bengals and a field goal vs. the Ravens, they are 15-1.

As for total yardage, it's a pretty decent stat in my opinion. I'm not sure who did the work, but there is a better correlation in rematch winning % for yardage from the first game than for score. One of the reasons I was certain that the Steelers would crush Baltimore yesterday was because of the yardage from their first two games, the Steelers were clearly the better team. The Ravens couldn't hold Pittsburgh's jock this year, in both games they were severely outmatched. Turnovers were the only thing that could have cost Pittsburgh that game. Smart bettors knew this too, the line jumped from 5 to 6.5 as the week progressed. It was easy money, just cross your fingers for the turnovers . . .

I was also pretty certain the Pack didn't have a chance because St. Louis was very solid in beating up the 49ers (the most similar team to the Pack) in their earlier matchups.

The Eagles' D will let them hang around St. Louis. But they don't have enough of a running game to win. The Steelers do.
   15. Scruff Posted: January 21, 2002 at 10:38 PM (#553014)
One other example -- Bucs almost beat them in 1999 Championship Game, on turf, in the dome, losing 11-6. Again, a team similar to the Steelers or Eagles.

If I'm a Rams fan, I'm rooting like crazy for the Patriots Sunday afternoon. Although the Pats played them tough at Foxboro earlier in the year too. It was a 24-10 game that the Pats made close with a late TD. Like Pittsburgh and Philly, the Pats have the D to contain Warner and Faulk some, but no running game to speak of, so they'd be the least likely to pull the upset.

There's no chance NE gets out of Pittsburgh alive though. It's the lock of the year that Pittsburgh will at least win the game. I'll be absolutely floored if NE wins. This ain't Oakland, and it ain't Foxboro. The bubble is going to be burst in a nasty way Sunday.
   16. scruff Posted: January 21, 2002 at 10:43 PM (#553015)
The score from that Pats-Rams game was 24-17, my post may have read like 24-10 was the final. The late TD made it 24-17.
   17. Darren Posted: January 21, 2002 at 11:40 PM (#553017)
Seriously, why are you ignoring the Dye signing?
   18. scruff Posted: January 22, 2002 at 12:04 AM (#553018)
One thing about Brown though. If he doesn't realize there is a park effect, his confidence might be shot because of all of this. He was 16/20 on the road though, so I guess not. Great work Vlad.
   19. The Original Gary Posted: January 22, 2002 at 01:34 AM (#553019)
Let's give the Pats some credit. The play in question was called correctly according to the book. They got in FG territory, and hit a field goal for the ages to tie. They drove in OT, converted a 4th down play and earned that victory. For you Raider fans, pay back for Ben Dreith!! THose '76 rings your team got belong to Steve Grogan et al.

The Pats certainly have a chance to win at Pittsburg. Why? A)they have a better offense than Baltimore. This isn't only shown in scoring, but in lack of mistakes. Elvis Grbac is the worst free agent pickup in the history of the NFL. Brady hasn't shown the proclivity to make poor judgments. That isn't to say he won't, but who would you rather have QBing your team? Brady or Grbac? Grbac put his team's defense in bad spots by giving the other team a short field. Then figure in the constant momemtum crushing turnovers. I am not saying the Pats could be confused with St. Louis, but all I've seen in this thread is New England being over looked.

Somebody predicted a 28-10 blowout. No way. Pittsburg won't score 28. They may win, they may not, but there will be no blow out.

That being said, the Pats have little chance versus the Rams. Don't discount the turf factor. It is huge in this case. The Rams are too fast on turf. For anybody.
   20. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 22, 2002 at 01:55 AM (#553020)
I don't see the Patriots putting up much of a fight against Pittsburgh. Yeah, they're better than Baltimore, but that's not much of a distinction for a playoff team. They did beat Oakland, right call or not, but I suspect that had the weather not cooperated, New England couldn't have held Oakland to just 13 points.

As far as the Packers outgunning the Rams: I think they might have had a shot if it weren't for all those turnovers. Remember that the Packers outperformed the Rams in passing yards, rushing yards, time of possession, first downs, and third down conversions. Three of the Rams' touchdowns were defensive; they had six interceptions and ran them back for a total of 161 yards (more than half of their total yards on offense). In other words, the Packers' defense wasn't the problem.

I still like the Rams to beat the Steelers, but I hope I'm wrong; I'll be going for Pittsburgh, and I think it'll be closer than either of the conference championship games.
   21. The Original Gary Posted: January 22, 2002 at 02:46 AM (#553022)
Dan, fair point about the weather. In my opinion, the weather hurt the Pats more than it hurt the Raiders. The Pats offense is based on a running game. Smith couldn't get any traction to run. Neither could Garner but the Raiders offense is primarily a passing one. The Pats passed effectively when they finally took the shackles off of Brady. Why couldn't the Raiders pass? Good defense, maybe?

I hope the Steelers overlook the Pats just like everyone here is. Then the Pats would have the right to get blown out in the Super Bowl.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 22, 2002 at 05:42 AM (#553025)
I think that part of the focus on Lewis comes from his almost complete lack of repentence. Little pled guilty and expressed contrition for his actions, but Lewis fought the murder rap and was convicted of obstruction of justice. It's easier for the public to forgive a criminal when he asks to be forgiven.

The other half of it is, of course, the fact that Lewis is probably the most famous defensive player in football and Little might not be known by casual fans. It's like the outcry over Roger Clemens *allegedly* throwing a bat at Mike Piazza when (Why the hell do I _always_ wind up talking about the Cubs? MacPhail, Mark Grace... I need a new gig.) current Chicago pitching prospect Ben Christiansen ended Anthony Molina's playing career in college by deliberately throwing at Molina's unprotected head while he was in the on-deck circle. A random guy on the street has no idea who Christiansen is, so there's no story there. Why is it a big story that Kirby Puckett is accused of domestic violence, when Eric Cyr can plead guilty to molesting a 15-year-old on an airplane and get away with a minor mention on Baseball America?

I think you're stretching things a bit to say Little is the best defensive player on the Rams. I'd vote for London Fletcher or Aeneas Williams, but Little is definitely a solid player. I remember that the Steelers were set to take him in the draft, but the Rams traded up for the pick right in front of Pittsburgh and snatched him instead. After I heard about the drunk driving thing, I wished that the trade hadn't gone through, since things might have turned out differently for everyone concerned.
   23. Alan Posted: January 22, 2002 at 07:36 AM (#553027)
He did lie to police.
   24. J. Michael Neal Posted: January 22, 2002 at 02:41 PM (#553029)
shoegazer,

The thing is that I think that you need to be able to get that pressure up the middle without blitzing all the time. One of the effects of the update to the Air Coryell system is that the current scheme is better able to exploit the holes in the short middle that are created when an extra linebacker rushes. If you are generating that pressure with four rushers, while mixing in an occasional blitz to keep the offense on its toes, you're far more likely to beat the Rams offense.

In my opinion, Pittsburgh is a lot more likely to be able to do that, and is much more likely to beat St. Louis than the Eagles are.
   25. scruff Posted: January 22, 2002 at 02:48 PM (#553030)
"The Rams are too fast on turf. For anybody."

Anybody except the Saints and Buccaneers, who both beat them on turf this year.
   26. The Original Gary Posted: January 22, 2002 at 03:10 PM (#553031)
I hate when people cloud the issue with facts.
   27. scruff Posted: January 22, 2002 at 04:31 PM (#553033)
Corey -- you and your boys got lucky as hell.

First of all it was 23-10 Steelers, with 4:00 left in the game and they had the ball. It would have been 24-3, except Kris Brown missed an extra point and Brian Simmons ran a fumble back 56-yards for a TD.

So you guys pick off Kordell and score a minute later to make the score 23-17. Then you recover an onside kick, on a terrible call. You get a defensive holding call on a 4th down play that would have ended the game. And then you win in OT.

For 56-minutes the Steelers played as if they were dominating you 24-3. Then you get a few breaks. Sh!t happens in the NFL. But to use this, in a division game on the road as evidence for why the Rams would crush Pittsburgh is foolhardy. I'd love to be your bookie Corey.

You were 6-10 Corey. The Saints were 7-9 and beat the Rams. And the Rams were 7-9. Losing to a 6-10 team on the road is surely no worse than losing to a 7-9 team at home, is it?

You guys weren't even all that bad Corey. You lose three games by 4 points or less. You beat Baltimore and New England, both playoff teams. You lost to Tampa by 3 and the Jets by 1. A few more breaks and you might have even been in the playoffs. At home you were 4-4.

Those facts have a terrible way of messing up a good theory, don't they?
   28. scruff Posted: January 22, 2002 at 04:34 PM (#553034)
"And the Rams were 7-9." Oops not sure how that made it in there. The Rams were 7-9 in 1995, their last season in LA . . . I wasn't actually wrong, just incomplete :-)
   29. scruff Posted: January 22, 2002 at 11:13 PM (#553040)
Thanks Sam.

Corey -- I wasn't saying that the Steelers are a lock to beat the Rams. I do think the Steelers will win, but it isn't a lock, it's like 55/45, you were putting words in my mouth.

What I was saying is that saying your squad beat them is no evidence that the Rams will. Your conclusion may or may not be correct. But your reasoning makes no sense, because I could reverse it to say the Rams lost to the sorry Saints, at home, so there's no way they could possibly beat the Steelers at a neutral site.
   30. scruff Posted: January 22, 2002 at 11:17 PM (#553041)
Actually Sam, is 18 gazillion more or less than 10 zillion-kabillion? The last number I know of is 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 (999+ hept-million). Not sure if gazillions or zillion-kabillions are higher or lower than this.
   31. scruff Posted: January 22, 2002 at 11:20 PM (#553042)
Lance, the Rams led the NFL in turnovers this year. I think defenses the quality of the Eagles and Steelers will force a few. And their offense probably won't turn it over the way Green Bay did.

In the Ram offense's defense, I will say that because their defense was scoring at will, they didn't have to do much. So I wouldn't say the fact that their offense only beat GB 24-17 really means all that much. They had the ball for 3 less possessions because their D was scoring.
   32. Greg Franklin Posted: January 23, 2002 at 12:17 AM (#553043)
scruff, I'm not a deep NFL fan, but I think the TOs are a side effect of the team's strategy. This year was the first I heard any team (or coach) say something to the media like, "Yeah we turn the ball over a lot, but we don't care, we just want to be aggressive and make plays."

As a baseball analogy, it reminds me of the move from the deadball era to the Babe Ruth era. We've had entirely too many overconservative boring offenses between the Air Coryell years and the latter-day Rams, and it isn't the players' fault.
   33. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 23, 2002 at 01:04 AM (#553044)
Re: TheTruth

Lewis pled guilty to a crime, obstruction of justice. Hence, he is a criminal. That the punishment for that crime didn't involve jail time doesn't change anything.
   34. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 23, 2002 at 07:59 PM (#553050)
Evil will always triumph, Corey, because good is dumb.

I'm as big a Steelers fan as anybody (and right now I'm wearing the pants to prove it, not that you needed to know that) but I do feel the need to be completely honest in my analysis. The Steelers only beat three teams with winning records this year (Tampa Bay, NY Jets, and Baltimore[2x]). Granted, you have to play the schedule you're given, but none of those wins looks especially strong, especially compared to the Rams' wins over San Francisco and Philadelphia. Tampa Bay got annihilated in the first round, the Jets almost ended up watching the playoffs on TV, and Baltimore has been, at best, staggeringly inconsistent this season.

More field goals numbers, for those who are interested. For the purposes of this chart, H is (h)einz field and A is (a)nywhere else.:

FG distance, Brown, H=>36.6
   35. The Original Gary Posted: January 25, 2002 at 01:03 AM (#553054)
The Steelers played 4 games against teams with records .500 or better. They are Tampa, New York Jets, and Baltimore twice. I'm not trying to take anything away from them, well maybe I am, but that schedule doesn't strike the fear of God in me. They are favored, and they should be, this week. They are a very, very good team. So, too, are the Patriots. I may be biased but I honestly don't see why nobody gives New England a chance. I am not too biased to think they can beat the Rams as well, but the Steelers are not the Rams. This game Sunday is going to be a low scoring affair and one play could make the difference. One play. If the Pats do win, I hope to see you all back here paying them their respect they have earned.
   36. The Original Gary Posted: January 27, 2002 at 10:27 PM (#553058)
OK/ Everyone who feels the need to apologize for the disrespect of the Pats, line up on the left. THose of you who will make excuses for the Steelers, get on the right.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
   37. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 27, 2002 at 10:56 PM (#553062)
The excuse for the Steelers: they played like crap.

Can we talk about Oakland again? They had some good excuses.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2002 at 12:48 AM (#553063)
Any given Sunday, I guess. Especially when it's a game so ugly only a mother could love it. The Patriots only scored one offensive TD, and had double-digit penalties, and they still outplayed and out-executed the Steelers. Blecch.
   39. scruff Posted: January 28, 2002 at 04:13 PM (#553065)
I wouldn't really say we (the Pittsburgh supporters) were "wrong" so much as any given Sunday, anything can happen. The Pats scored two TD's on special teams. If Brown makes that 36-yarder instead of having it blocked, the score ends up 20-17 Pittsburgh. Take away the punt return and it's 20-10, Steelers. Even w/Kordell throwing 3-picks and losing a fumble on a snap.

The Pats made the plays and deserved to win. But I still don't think they are a better team. The best team doesn't always win the game. I'm just annoyed that we'll never know if the Steelers could've beat the Rams, that's really a game I would have liked to have seen. This is the 8th year in a row that the best teams haven't made it to the Super Bowl.

Best team matchups

2001 - Rams-Steelers

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