Well, the Steelers are playing the Bengals (for the third time this year) in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs, this Saturday. The first meeting, on November 1, between the teams left our star running back Le’Veon Bell out for the season with injuries to his MCL/PCL. Tackled by Vontaze Burfict, his leg got caught up under his body. Burfict then gets up and dances in celebration. I thought that quite crappy but willing to give him the benefit of the doubt of knowing not that Bell had gotten hurt. Then he boasted about it afterwards, showed no remorse and was generally just an arse about it. The Steelers lost that game, at home.
The second meeting, Week 14 (December 13), there were several incidents on the field by players from both teams, including Antonio Brown, who is generally all smiles and fun-loving. There were many altercations between him and CB Dre Kirkpatrick and Burfict. This was the culmination of a lot of Twitter chatter, especially from Burfict, slinging insults and mud. There was a scuffle during pre-game warm ups. I was yelling at the TV wanting Brown to stop before he got disqualified (ejected from the game). There were several personal foul calls and penalties but not ejections. I was wondering how long before the refs regained control of the game. It didn’t happen. The Steelers won that game, in Cincy.
This was before the Carolina/NY Giants game and that fiasco in officiating between Beckham and Norman, but I remember thinking to myself, why aren’t the refs doing more!? They need to keep control of the game, of the players. Order is very important. Those fights have no place in the game. I like the violent aspect of the game but fighting is not the way to go. The bad news is, word came down that the officiating team for this weekend’s Wild Card game is the same officiating team that reffed that last game that got so out of hand. I don’t know what the NFL is thinking there. This game is too important to all persons involved. The safety of the players is also paramount. They need to keep their cool and play smart. Whoever loses this game goes home as it’s a playoff game. Whoever wins goes on to the next round. If the Steelers win, they will play Denver.
If Cincy wins, they’ll play New England. Cincy has been to the big game twice, both times losing to the San Francisco 49ers. They’re looking to get back for the first time since the 1988-1989 season. Incidentally, that Super Bowl, XXIII (January 22, 1989), was the day I had my appendix removed (actually it was January 23 at 2:30ish in the morning) and I remember watching it, wincing in pain. My Steelers, on the other hand, they’re working on their “Stairway to Seven.” It would be awesome to see Big Ben and Coach Tomlin hoisting the Lombardi Trophy one more time. That game is happening at 8:15 on Saturday night. So I’ll be wearing my black and gold and we’ll be in good shape. Hopefully, I don’t have to put anything through the television, which as long as it’s a good game, I’m okay with, but I still want my Steelers to win. Here we go Steelers! Here we go!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
““As you well know, there is no better time to be playing football than during our playoffs. As we work together, we will continue striving to represent the NFL’s key values — respect, resiliency, integrity and responsibility to team. Your team is competing as one of the best in the world at what you do. With the nation and fans around the world watching, we are reminded of the responsibility we share to demonstrate the highest standards of sportsmanship and respect for the game, each other, the officials and the fans. Emotions will run high, but no emotion should give way to demeaning or offensive words or actions. Our rules prohibiting fighting, illegal hits, and abusive language will be strictly enforced.” – Memo from NFL Offices to all NFL Playoff teams