View Full Version : The NFL Hates the Pittsburgh Steelers

05-27-2011, 01:15 PM
The NFL Hates the Pittsburgh Steelers

May 26, 2011


What was once a whisper of a conspiracy theory around the league last season, but screamed aloud across Steelers Nation, the NFL is targeting the Steelers unabashedly.

In fact, you might say that the NFL hates the Steelers – from the top down.

The Steelers organization has had amazing success over it’s existence. In the more recent history of the NFL (1990 and onward) the Steelers have been in the playoffs 13 times, won their division 11 times, appeared in the Super Bowl 4 times, and won the Super Bowl twice. Keep one interception and one fumble from happening and the Steelers could have been 4 for 4 in Super Bowls. For the past 21 years, the Steelers have been nothing shy of dominating in their division over rival teams. All the while, they play with a physical intensity that has gone unmatched – the Ravens come close.

The Steelers take on the persona of their town and fans – blue collar, hard working yinzers. They have one of the largest fan bases over any other sport across the country.

Everywhere you go, you see Steelers attire and paraphernalia. Any away game they play there are thousands upon thousands of Steelers Nation waving those Terrible Towels. And the NFL HATES them for it. Hates them for it ALL.

The NFL’s hatred has been brooding for a long time, waiting until the right moment, the right turning point in the game itself so that it can remove the vail masking that hatred.

The 2009 season began the huge push for player ‘safety.’ The league changed rules for hitting defenseless players – receivers, quarterbacks and even blockers. This became the first shot heard ’round the world against the war on the Steelers. Targeting mainly Hines Ward, the league outlawed hitting defenseless players who were either catching the ball or making a play on the ball. Next league officials (outside of the zebras) began dishing out fines to players for dangerous and ‘illegal’ hits. Now, the moment became ripe for the legue to take aim at one of the hardest hitting teams in the NFL – the Steelers. And boy, did they ever take advantage. James Harrison became the poster child for the ever subjectively defined ‘illegal’ hit. When all was said and done, Harrison accumulated $100,000 in fines. Harrison threatened to retire, and I’m sure the league was drooling over the prospect of that happening.


The Baltimore Ravens and Ravens fans became the beneficiaries of the league targeting the Steelers

But Craig, if Harrison was indeed hitting illegally, isn’t the league in the right by fining him? Though some of his ‘illegal’ hits were a bit questionable, I would have to agree with that observation. However, the league was very inconsistent with identifying illegal hits and dishing out appropriate fines. Steelers like Ward, Clark and Polamalu spoke out against this inconsistency and were punished for it. That punishment – the December 5th Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens. The punishment came in the form of no call after no call against the Ravens. Exhibit A: Ben Roethlisberger’s broken nose from a shot to the face by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. No penalty and no fine. Exhibit B: linebacker Jameel McClain’s hit on a defenseless Heath Miller. Direct helmet to helmet, concussion sustained. No penalty and the fine was reduced from 40k to 20k.

There were some other sketchy calls from the officials against the Steelers that game, but I don’t want to jump down the rabbit hole of suggesting that the league would directly influence officiating on the field during a game. The two examples used here are ones that are plays reviewed and ruled on by league officials after the game. The message sent to the Steelers from the league after week 13 – shut up. I think the NFL even took pleasure in that beating. The lead headline on NFL.com the following Monday was not – Heath Miller Sustained Concussion From Illegal Helmet to Helmet Hit. It was, “Roethlisberger Bloodied.” But thankfully, that didn’t stop the Steelers from using the week of the Super Bowl to continue to speak out on the league’s new beat down.

With the writing clearly on the wall, this offseason has been the time to break the spirits and backs of our beloved Black and Gold. Tuesday, the NFL voted to begin fining teams if their players are repeatedly disciplined by the league for ‘flagrant hits.’ Flagrant? That term completely demonizes what is 9 times out of 10 a legitimate football play.

This isn’t the NBA where a flagrant foul has been seen as a foul in which the offending player intends to inflict harm on another player. I don’t really ever think that is the true intent of these helmet to helmet hits or illegal hits. Football was conceived out of and meant to be a physical hard hitting game. Basketball is not. The players guilty of helmet to helmet hits or illegal hits are making a football play – whether directly at the ball carrier or someone about to make a play on the ball/ball carrier. The game is too damn fast to make corrections while in mid-tackle. The league is already asking for the impossible – now they are going for the jugular.

Even though the league said that a few teams would have been susceptible to the new rule (were it in place last season), one team will be undoubtedly linked to the rule – The Pittsburgh Steelers. If Tom Brady thought he was special for getting his own damn rule, well the Steelers need to throw a parade for one created against an entire team. I hope the Steelers’ pockets are deep next season because I doubt they will cease their caliber of physical play. I hope to God that Roger Goodell is not serious about possibly stripping teams of draft picks for multiple offenders. It’s an unrealistic expectation, but the league will try, and the Steelers will be punished severely for it.

The league has gone too far in its hatred for the Steelers. ’Defense wins championships,’ and the league is trying to systematically remove that quip and the Steelers. The league is obviously changing the game in favor of higher scoring games, something that hurts the Steelers. The Steelers have a tradition of hard hitting dominating defenses. The league is trying to strip that aspect of the game away from the league’s most successful franchise… something they loathe. The Rooney family is not like any other ownership in the NFL. The family is a blue collar family that has always focused on the team. The team is their life blood for income and don’t have any other busnisses like most other NFL owners. The Rooney’s understand the human element in the game and they seem to be sympathetic towards their players – especially during this lockout. I’m sure Goodell and the other owners aren’t too happy about that.


The team is far from the flash and glitz of other ‘popular’ franchises, such as the Cowboys or Giants. Adam’s book review on The Ones Who Hit the Hardest couldn’t have come at a better time (I suggest you read that and get your hands on that book). Pittsburgh is a blue collar town – the team embodies the spirit of that city. The bright lights and ‘big city’ feel of New York and Dallas will never jive in a town like the ‘Burgh (thank God). This does not fit the model of the billionaires and Roger Goodell. Calling the Pittsburgh Steelers ‘America’s Team’ is like acid on their tongues and probably makes them throw up a bit in their mouths. Because they are indeed ‘America’s Team.’ If there is ever a sport or ever a group of players that embody that of which we call the American Dream and spirit – it is the Steelers.

James Harrison is absolutely right by saying, “I’m absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots.” They are idiots. They are idiots because they would rather let the game suffer while putting their hit out on the Steelers. The interpretation of illegal hits is still too subjective and that means the Steelers will be forced to be on their best behavior. Screw that. I hope that the Steelers continue to bring the hard physical play to the field each and every game and continue to be relentless against the other team. The Steelers always find a way to win.

If they are fined, they will still win. If players are suspended, they will still win. If Ratger Goodell takes away their draft picks, they will still find a way to win. The Steelers are as resilient as their own fans. They will always find a way to win no matter how many times the league sets them up for failure. As long as the Steelers keep winning, no other franchise will eclipse them as winning the most Super Bowls. And that really ticks off the NFL.

So bring on the hate, NFL. I for one would be in line to drop a little extra cash in the Steelers’ coffers to pay for the fines they will undoubtedly incur over the season. The tradition of Steelers football will never ever go away.

http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/05/26/th ... teelers/2/ (http://nicepickcowher.com/2011/05/26/the-nfl-hates-the-steelers/2/)

05-27-2011, 02:02 PM
Did anyone else have to do a double-take when they saw #58 without block numbers?



05-29-2011, 09:44 AM

What's up with that?


05-30-2011, 10:47 AM
Of course the NFL haytes the Steelers. They are successful playing a brand of football that is completely opposite what the NFL things generates interest and positive media coverage. Steelers hard hitting defense is not conducive to ESPN highlights. It becoming all about high flying offense and highlights that can easily be edited to meet the needs of the 24/7 media beast.

Fortunately, we have an offensive coordinator who has laid the groundwork for us to compete in this style of the NFL versus holding onto to an archaic notion of 1970s football :stirpot

06-01-2011, 01:26 PM
Junker: NFL not picking on Steelers

Monday, May 30, 2011

Other than being away for college, I've lived in Pittsburgh all but one year of my life. I think I have a pretty good understanding of the way a majority of the people think around here. I know we have a little bit of an "us against the world" mentality. Actually, it's probably more of a "world against us" thought process. So it was not surprising when NFL owners voted last week to change some rules to better protect players, that the locals turned that into a "you're picking on the Steelers" mantra. Really? Come on.

The talk of stripping draft picks and fining teams who have repeat head shot offenders has already been called the Steeler rule. Last year linebacker James Harrison himself would probably have cost the Steelers some cash and a selection or two under this proposal. He was fined $100,000 for three separate incidents. And while that would be enough to make anyone feel like they are being targeted, to tweet that the people who make the rules are "idiots," as Harrison did, is a bit over the top. Maybe he's thinking of retiring again. Maybe someday he'll be 50 years old and still be able to think clearly and he'll know that they were right.

Far be it from me to stick up for the NFL hierarchy. But they are trying to find the very delicate balance between not destroying the violence of football (that makes it so appealing to watch, and for many to play), and not destroying the actual people who play it. As more and more research is done, it's apparent that the continued head trauma suffered by many who play football, and often the resulting concussions, are causing more brain damage and harm than previously known.

If the NFL really wants to help the issue, it can't have wishy-washy rules that require officials to decide if the the head blow was intended or not. Or flagrant or not. Second, the helmets that test best for protection should be mandatory. As it stands now, the least-safe helmet is the most popular because players have grown accustomed to wearing it and the league has grown accustomed to company sponsorships. Players should have to protect themselves as much as possible with the equipment that is available or they can't play.

It wasn't that long ago that a player in any sport who "had his bell rung" would be encouraged to go back into the game after a whiff or two of smelling saltz. Anything less was considered unmanly. It wasn't that long ago that NHL players wouldn't wear helmets. They were considered a sign of weakness. Ever heard of Bill Masterton? He died hitting his head on the ice in a game in 1968. And it still took 11 years after that to make helmets mandatory. Young people think they are going to live forever. Young athletes think they are invincible. Decisions have to be made for them. Even if if they tweet their displeasure for weeks.

I had both the privilege and the pain of working in television with Hall of Fame center Mike Webster after he had retired from playing. It was horrible to watch him go through the mental problems he had from a career of head-knocking. He could be one of the greatest guys you could know one week, and the next he would forget to show up for work.

It may be impossible to prevent this with the game of football as we know it. The technology may not exist to make a helmet that is safe enough. And there certainly aren't rules to make the game risk free. But you can't blame people for trying. And players can't complain now about being fined for head-hunting, and then someday think they are owed something because they have a debilitating brain problem from years of hitting or being hit.

You want to think of all of this as picking on the Steelers? I think it's a problem that is worth working on, regardless of which team likes it.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1O2STDY2T (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_739735.html#ixzz1O2STDY2T)