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The Pittsburgh Power Storm Back to Defeat the Orlando Predators for the Biggest Comeback in Arena Football League History, and I was There to See it

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The Pittsburgh Power knocked off the Orlando Predators, 57-54, last night before a crowd of just over 4400 at the Consol Energy Center. I was one of the 4400-plus in attendance, and I got to witness the biggest comeback in Arena Football League history, as the Power stormed back from a 31-point second half deficit to win in overtime.

You might be thinking, "Well, what does this have to do with the Steelers, Tony?" Well, first of all, Lynn Swann and Mike Logan, two former Steelers, were both there. At least there's some Steelers connection.

Also, I just broke up with my girlfriend, and I need this writing release, damn it!

Sorry, I got emotional. That's what happens at times like these. Your emotions are just all over the place. I must control them in-order to finish this post. I'll try.

I digress.

The reason why Mike Logan was there is because he's the new color analyst for the Pittsburgh Power radio broadcasts. I was in line to buy a ticket for the game, and I happened to look over to see him talking to a woman. I said to myself, "That's Mike Logan! I'm going to go get his autograph!" After I bought my ticket, I started to approach him to maybe ask for an autograph, but I couldn't decide. Before I could make up my mind, he turned toward me to walk to wherever he was going, and I almost bumped into him. At least that was something.

My ticket was in section 106, row z seat 8. It was right in front of one of the reserved areas, and as I was searching for my seat, right in front of me was Steelers Hall of Fame receiver, and hero of Super Bowl X, Lynn Swann. Why was Swanny there, you may be thinking to yourself? Well, he's part owner of the team, and he can do whatever he wants. I was instantly star-struck. I don't think I've ever been that close to a Hall of Famer. Again, I wanted to ask for an autograph or whatever, but instead, I blurted out, "Am I in the right section?" Why did I say that? I don't know. Like Lynn Swann had time to help me find my seat. That's why he pays ushers. Anyway, Swann didn't even hear me (at least I hope he didn't), because he walked away without saying a word.

I don't know why I had such trouble talking to those guys. But I'm going through a breakup, and sometimes, it's not easy approaching former Steelers when you're hurting and vulnerable.

I found my seat soon enough, but I discovered that I was sitting right in the middle of a bunch of kids and their parents. And that meant that I couldn't swear the whole game. But that was OK, because I didn't know many of the players names anyway. It also meant that I couldn't spend too much time ogling the Pittsburgh Power cheerleaders--the Sparks.

Another reason why it's alright to talk about an arena football game on BTSC is because Antonio Brown was there for some pre-game festivity, and he got a pretty loud ovation.

As for the game itself, you can find a thorough summary of the game-action right here. I would do it, but again, I don't know many of the names. That would require me to constantly reference the Pittsburgh Power game day program.

The first half was pretty boring, as the Predators jumped out to a 41-17 lead, and I almost left at halftime. Fortunately, I decided to stay, mainly because I wanted to scope out the women-folk beings that I'm newly single--I know, too soon, but you have to start sometime.

I didn't approach any lovely ladies, but I did buy a beer and decided to order some chicken fried rice. That's right, you read that correctly. They were serving Chinese food at a football game. It was great, and just like any other Chinese restaurant, they gave me huge portions.

When I was walking back to my seat with my food and drink, I didn't think there would be any way I would be able to finish all of the fried rice. Fortunately, my breakup has left me without much of an appetite, and I haven't eaten much food in recent days. Therefore, I ate my food like there was no tomorrow.

I was so busy filling my face with food and drowning my sorrows with Pabst Blue Light, I didn't look up to see any of the second half action until about halfway through the 3rd quarter. By then, Orlando had built their lead to 48-17, and I didn't think there was any way Pittsburgh could come back.

The Power's offense looked awful as it was, and besides, even if they did start to come back, it's pretty hard to keep a team from scoring in arena football. What were the odds of the Predators failing to score another touchdown the rest of the way? Well, as it turned out, the odds were pretty good, and Orlando could only must another three points in regulation.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh took advantage of a quarterback change--I don't remember the guy's name, someone called number 15 or whatever--as well as some turnovers by Orlando, and they were able to storm all the way back to tie the score with less than a minute remaining.

Orlando had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but their kicker missed a long field goal as time expired, and the game went into overtime tied at 51.

In fairness to the Predators, they probably should have won the game in regulation. Late in the contest, a Predator defensive back picked off a pass in the end zone and had full possession with both feet down. Touchback, right? Wrong. A Power player stripped him of the football and Pittsburgh recovered for a touchdown. That didn't seem like the right call, but it's arena football. Nobody will notice.

The arena football overtime rules state that each team gets a possession. If the game is still tied after each team has a possession, sudden death rules apply, and the first team to score after that wins.

Orlando did manage to kick a field goal on their first possession to take a 54-51 lead.

However, Pittsburgh had great field position after nearly taking the kickoff the distance, and a few plays later, the Power scored a touchdown to win the game and complete the epic comeback.

I know that minutes from now, there won't be too many people who remember the biggest comeback in Arena Football League history, but I'm happy to say that I was there to see it in person. Heck, it might have been the biggest football comeback of any kind in Pittsburgh history.

Besides, maybe it's a metaphor for my situation. If the Pittsburgh Power can make the biggest comeback in Arena League history, maybe I can make the biggest comeback in break-up history and date Jennifer Aniston. Or at least one of the Pittsburgh Sparks.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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History Shows Inside Linebackers Ignored By Steelers In First Round Of Drafts


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You never know what will crop up in the comments section on this site, but I am proud to say that quite a few of the readers here are well informed when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The latest discussion centers around the Steelers potentially drafting Alabama inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower in the first round and as Greig eludes to in the comments section of another post, the Steelers have not drafted a true inside linebacker in the first round in the Super Bowl era.

Of course I know many of you will point to Lawrence Timmons, who the Steelers drafted in the first round of the 2007 Read more [...]

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Steelers Rewind – Looking Back In Steelers History (March 24 – 31)

Histories are as perfect as the Historian is wise, and is gifted with an eye and a soul.   ---Thomas Carlyle
Often the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers is riddled with imperfections, and those who write about it just as flawed.  Last week we had a small error in one of our photos (and it was corrected, thank you).  Like they say, "Don't shoot the messenger."  The great part about covering the history of the Steelers is that with our eyes we look back into the soul of an organization, and that is something special.

(March 22, 2002) Dan Rooney Awarded by the Sporting News
The Sporting Read more [...]

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History Of Steelers Big Name Free Agent Losses Under Kevin Colbert

I posted the other day about the free agents that the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed from other teams since Kevin Colbert took over in 2000 and now we will look at the notable free agent players that were signed away under the Colbert watch dating back to 2000. I use the word notable only in the sense of big named players at the time. Just because they were big names does not mean they were crucial loses at the time.

The biggest names that still had a lot to give their new teams were of course Plaxico Burress, Chris Hope, Alan Faneca, Mike Vrabel, Wayne Gandy and Carlos Emmons. Burress and Hope Read more [...]

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History Of Steelers Free Agency Signings Under Kevin Colbert


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The 2012 NFL free agency signing period is in full swing now and a lot of the major signings are now behind us. The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to lose any of their own unrestricted free agents up until this point and as usual they have yet to sign any unrestricted free agents to no ones surprise.

General Manager Kevin Colbert has been on board since 2000 and I thought it would be fun to go back in time to look at the unrestricted free agents that he did sign since that time. The table below only represents free agent signings during the key signing periods. It does not reflect players that Read more [...]

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Ward Elite Not Just for Steelers, But in NFL History

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While it still remains to be seen whether Hines Ward ever suits up for the Pittsburgh Steelers again, there can be no disputing the fact that Ward is the most productive wide receiver in franchise history. And it’s not even close.

The Steelers have had some magnificent receivers, including a pair from the 1970s – Lynn Swann and John Stallworth – who are in the Hall of Fame. But the statistics of those two Hall of Famers could be added together and still come up short to the numbers that Ward has accumulated.

The fact that the league has turned into a passing (and receiving) league cannot be argued. The numbers of many Hall of Fame QBs and WRs from the 1970s pale in comparison to what today’s players are putting up. But the records are there for fans to look at, and right there in black and white, the numbers say Ward is easily the best WR to ever suit up for the Steelers.

But if that’s the case, why is he not considered a lock for Canton? ...

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The History of the Steelers as a Wild Card Team

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The Pittsburgh Steelers will begin the 2011-2012 playoffs as a wild card and the 5th seed in the AFC. The team did put together a more than solid 12-4 record in 2011, but it wasn't enough to earn an AFC North title because of two losses to the Ravens, who went on to win the division with the same 12-4 mark.

Still, though, 12-4 isn't too shabby, and at the beginning of the season, if you would've told any player, coach or fan that the Steelers would finish the year with that record, I'm sure most everyone would take it and run, even before knowing when or where the team would play in the postseason.

It just so happens that 12-4 wasn't good enough to earn the familiar bye and postseason playoff game at Heinz Field this season.

I figured that since the Steelers haven't found themselves in the wild card bracket very often, now would be a good time to go back and examine how the team has fared as a wild card over the years, as well as give you a more general history of the NFL wild card format with a little help courtesy of the NFL Hall of Fame's official website.

The NFL first started using a wild card team after the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, but the old AFL started putting non-division winners in its playoff field in 1969. So in essence, the Kansas City Chiefs became the first wild card team to win the Super Bowl after knocking off the Jets and Raiders in the AFL playoffs, and then downing the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

From 1970-1977, the NFL had three divisions in the AFC and three in the NFC, and to make the amount of playoff teams even, the non-division winning team with the best record from each conference made the playoffs as the 4th entrant. However, a wild card team wasn't what it would later become. Yes, a team who made the playoffs this way had to play their postseason games on the road, but they only had to win two games to get to the Super Bowl. The Steelers made the playoffs as a wild card only one time under this format, in 1973, and they lost to the Raiders in Oakland, 33-14 in the divisional playoffs. Only one wild card team advanced to the Super Bowl in the 4 seed format--the 1975 Dallas Cowboys made it to Super Bowl X, but lost to the Steelers, 21-17.

Starting in 1978, the wild card format that we're all familiar with today started to take shape when the NFL added a 2nd wild card team to each conference. The uneven amount of teams created bye weeks for the three division winners as the two wild card teams battled it out in the first round of the playoffs with the 4th seed hosting the 5th seed. Unlike in previous years, however, a wild card team was forced to play three games in order to advance to the Super Bowl. Right at the start of this new format, the Houston Oilers made it to two straight AFC Championship games in 1978 and 1979, but they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers each time. In 1980, the Cowboys made it to the NFC championship as a wild card before losing to the Eagles, but the Oakland Raiders did them one better that season by becoming the first post-merger wild card entrant to advance to and win the Super Bowl. The Raiders knocked off the Oilers, Browns and Chargers on their way to Super Bowl XV, and then blew-out the Eagles in the Superdome, 27-10. The five-team playoff format wasn't too kind to wild card teams for many years after that, but in 1985, the New England Patriots did become the first wild card team to win three-straight road-playoff games and advance to the Super Bowl. The Patriots lost big to the Bears in Super Bowl XX, but it was still a pretty remarkable feat. As for the Steelers, they only made the playoff as a wild card one time in the 5-team era. In 1989, the Steelers made the playoffs as the 5th seed and made the City of Pittsburgh proud by going to Houston and knocking off the Oilers in overtime, before losing a close game to the Broncos in the divisional round the following week.

In 1990, the NFL added a 3rd wild card team to each conference, and instead of every division winner earning a bye into the second round, only the top two seeds got byes, and the division winner with the 3rd best record had to play the 6th seed in the wild card bracket. This placed more of a premium on getting a week off, and teams like the 1979 Rams, the 1984 Steelers and the 1985 Browns--division winners with very weak records--were very unlikely to benefit from a bye week. The Steelers made the playoffs as a wild card team only once under this format--as the 6th seed in 1993, they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round--but they did have to play in the wild card bracket as the 3rd seed in 1996. The AFC North Champion Steelers blew out the Colts at Three Rivers Stadium in round one but were blown out themselves a week later at New England. Whether it was parity, or just the odds evening out, teams advancing to and winning the Super Bowl out of the wild card bracket became a little more common under this format. In 1992, the Buffalo Bills advanced to Super Bowl XXVII as the 4th seed in the AFC. In 1997, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl XXXII as a wild card entrant. In 1999, the Tennessee Titans advanced to Super Bowl XXXIV as the 4th seed in the AFC, and the following year, the Baltimore Ravens one-upped their AFC Central division rivals by using the same seed to advance to and win Super Bowl XXXV.

The current playoff format, with four division winners and two wild card teams in each conference, was put into effect in 2002. The Steelers have had to play in the wild card bracket four times in this format--two as a division winner, two as a wild card team--and they were the first team in the history of the NFL to win a Super Bowl after having to play three straight playoff games on the road. In 2005, the Steelers advanced to the playoffs as the 6th seed, and defeated the Bengals, Colts and Broncos on their way to Super Bowl XL in Detroit. The Steelers then vanquished the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, to earn their first Super Bowl trophy since 1979. Pittsburgh's rare accomplishment has been repeated two-times since. In 2007, the Giants were the 5th seed in the NFC, and they won three-straight road playoff games to advance to Super Bowl XLII, and then upset the unbeaten New England Patriots. And just last year, the Green Bay Packers, seeded 6th in the NFC, took out the Eagles, Falcons and Bears in the playoffs before defeating the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

As you can see by these recent trends, winning the Super Bowl as a wild card team doesn't seem nearly as impossible as it did years ago. And when you factor in the division winners that had to start the playoffs in the wild card round, five of the past six Super Bowls have had participants that had to win three games just to get there. And four of the past six champions started their journey in the first round of the playoffs.

So, even though the Steelers must take the scenic route if they want to have a chance to win their 7th World Championship, recent history--including their own--suggests that it might not be the worst route to take.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Brown Looks To Make Franchise History As Steelers Offense Struggles

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With just 16 receiving yards Saturday against the Rams, Steelers WR Antonio Brown will make history.

When he goes over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, he and teammate Mike Wallace will become the first Steelers receivers ever to reach the century plateau together, when neither of them were first-round draft picks.

Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes each had over 1,000 yards receiving in 2009 (Holmes 1,248, Ward 1,167), four years after the Steelers selected Holmes with the 25th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Ward and Plaxico Burress each topped 1,000 yards in 2002 (Ward 1,329 and Burress 1,325) and 2001 (Ward 1,003 and Burress 1,008).

Brown became the second fastest receiver to reach the 1,000 career yards plateau in Week 10 of this season. It took him 19 games, while Wallace hit that mark in his 21st game, Week 7 of the 2010 season. It took Buddy Dial 18 games in 1961-62 to reach 1,000.

While it's unlikely the duo will meet Burress and Ward's record of 2,654 yards as Steelers teammates, they have played in a combined 68 games, while Burress and Ward had played 90 games together when they set their mark.

The individual pieces of this offense seem greater than the sum of their whole right now. Despite a bevy of playmakers, the Steelers are 22nd in the NFL in scoring offense, averaging 20.4 points a game. In the six quarters since Ben Roethlisberger injured his ankle in Week 14, the Steelers have scored 10 points.

Injuries across the offensive line can share some of the blame for sagging offensive production. Most recently, C Maurkice Pouncey has missed all or parts of the team's last four games. Pittsburgh was a top 10 team in rushing attempts last season, but are 21st this year, with 370 (26.4 carries a game).

Pouncey says he expects to play Saturday after missing Week 15, but Roethlisberger may not. He spoke after practice Wednesday, and told the gathered media he has not been told he isn't playing, and will prepare to start unless he hears otherwise.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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