This is one of those moments where I get out of the way and let Steelers fans get after it.
The team just allowed its season to end in ignominious, humiliating fashion to the Cleveland Browns on wild-card weekend 48-37.
People are fed up with head coach Mike Tomlin, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, mouthy wide receivers and a defense that faded quickly in the final month of the season.
Oh, and the Penguins lost to the Flyers 6-3 in the season opener.
So I’ll yield the stage for “U mad, bro?” It’s your canvas, folks. It’s your blank slate. Have at it.
Let’s start with an email from William who wants to rip the Steel… wait a minute. Something is wrong here.
“I celebrate their wins and I’m disappointed by their losses. Regardless I am just a fan, and I look forward to seeing what they have planned for next year.
“What they were able to do was to get an opportunity to see some of their young players who will make up the team going forward, in light of the fact some players may move on. Hopefully, they will get some good draft choices and inject some needed youthfulness, energy, and growth.”
What the …??!! Who let this guy into the treehouse?
I mean, doesn’t he know how “U mad, bro?” works? Especially for the “post-Steelers elimination” edition?
This is a balanced, thoughtful, cogent reaction. And that kind of language WILL NOT be tolerated around here!
Seriously, William, I appreciate your email and your measured reply. But I can tell you exactly “what they have planned for next year.”
A 6-10 record.
Honestly, that might be exactly what they need.
Let’s move on. Don K. sent an email, and its subject heading is “Tomlin needs to go!”
OK. Now … NOW … we are cooking with gas.
“Everyone needs to go. Tomlin always has something to say, but he doesn’t get his team motivated to perform. He is in charge. He created the team and their undisciplined actions. He is totally responsible for his players and their performance. They were humiliated, and they still can’t act like professionals. When will he be held accountable for his team’s unpreparedness? How many more years do we have to watch him take OUR TEAM nowhere?”
Ah. That’s more like it. Now we’re up to game speed.
Let me answer some of those questions, Don.
• When will Tomlin be held accountable for the team being unprepared? Never.
• How many more years will we watch Tomlin lead the Steelers? At least one more. And, if they scratch into the playoffs again, at least two.
• Is he “totally responsible” for the team’s undisciplined actions and undermotivated play? No. The players should be responsible for themselves.
I’ll put it to you this way, though. I don’t know how much Tomlin is individually at fault for all of that stuff. But I do know that he has been unable to stop it.
And that needs to change. If he can’t do it, someone else should.
Jim is skipping past the debate if Tomlin is going to be fired or not. He’s going right to naming his replacement.
“I so wish that we were reading your article about the five best candidates to replace Tomlin. Since (Art) Rooney II will NEVER fire Tomlin, how about you write the article anyway?”
Jim, I could give you the same names everybody else is spouting off for other jobs. Robert Saleh, Eric Bieniemy, Arthur Smith, a returning Bill Cowher, and “insert-name-here” of someone who grew up in, around or in the general vicinity of Pittsburgh.
To your point, though, it’s a waste of time since that isn’t going to happen.
I do want to make this point, though. There are lots of people in the fan base, media and front office who may be thinking, “You can’t fire Mike Tomlin, who else are you going to get?”
If you hear anybody say that, immediately ask them if, in December 2007, they had any clue who Tomlin was.
Some will admit that they didn’t. Everyone else is lying.
Cowher’s replacement was going to be Russ Grimm or Ken Whisenhunt or Ron Rivera. Or Dave Wannstedt was gonna come across the hall from Pitt. Or Chan Gailey was gonna get resurrected.
They found Mike Tomlin once. Come to think of it, they found him three times if you count Cowher and Chuck Noll, too.
They can find Mike Tomlin again.
You didn’t think we’d go through this exercise and leave quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out of the mix, did you? Take it away, Larry.
“Seeing the photo of Ben sitting disconsolate on the bench after the Browns game was to me an end of an era. It reminded me of the iconic photo of aging Giants QB Y.A. Tittle on one knee, blood flowing from a cut on his face during a game with Steelers at Forbes Field.
“It’s time Ben. Love and respect for all you’ve done for the franchise, but it’s time.”
Larry, forget about that photo. I’d take Y.A Tittle right now over Roethlisberger to start 2021.
What? Oh, that’s too bad.
When? Oh, 2017.
You say he was 90 years old? Really?!
Don’t care. I stand by my opinion. I bet Tittle at least jumps on that bad snap from Maurkice Pouncey that sailed over Roethlisberger’s head and went into the end zone.
Here’s what I’d do regarding Roethlisberger and his contract situation if I’m Rooney. I’d call Roethlisberger into my office, and I’d say, “Ben, we aren’t going to cut you. But we aren’t keeping any free agents. We’re firing Mike. And we’re replacing him with Todd Haley as head coach.
Welp, can’t get through a “U mad, bro” entry without someone blaming it on the media. This guy didn’t like my column on Wednesday.
Now up at #BreakfastWithBenz–”Browns is the Browns?”
Nope. Sorry, JuJu.
— Tim Benz (@TimBenzPGH) January 13, 2021
He thinks I was picking on wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Let me get this straight. So you take @TeamJuJu’s words complete out of context (and out of a complete quote), infuse it with a meaning that it didn’t have, and then roast him for it?
— Kliuch🇺🇦 (@kliuch) January 13, 2021
Your first two accusations I did not do at all. I took Smith-Schuster’s comments very much in context. And I didn’t “infuse them” with anything.
The third thing? I did do that. I did “roast him.” But not in this column. I did that more in this column. And I’m not sorry about it.
The post Wednesday was much more about the team overall and not so much about JuJu’s quote. Read it before you get lippy and fire off a tweet. That column is 1% about JuJu and 99% about the whole team.
You got one other thing right. It was cool. I liked that column. I hated having to write it. But it needed to be said.
Well, it’s hockey season now. And the Penguins’ third period in their 6-3 season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Flyers was almost as bad as the Steelers’ first quarter on Sunday.
Newly acquired Mike Matheson inspired some skepticism when he came to Pittsburgh. And he lived down to it during the opener with some issues in transition defense and in his own end.
Matheson makes me miss Jack Johnson
— Mike Ference (@ArnCityPounder) January 14, 2021
Annnnnnd, they’re off!!!!! A nice, smooth transition into hockey for “U mad, bro?”
I wish all “transitions” could be so seamless.
Penguins/NHL | Sports | Steelers/NFL | Breakfast With Benz