Nothing sells a newspaper (or generates hits on the web) like a disaster. So it should come as no surprise that much of the season-ending coverage on the Steelers boils down to one form of gloom and doom or another
Doubtlessly, there is real cause for concern. In losing 3 of their final 4, and in letting yet another game slip away in the last two minutes, Steelers Nation is right to cast a weary eye to the coming off season. It follows then that that much of the press coverage along these lines is on the mark.
Nonetheless, it is hard not to wonder if certain quarters of the Fourth Estate might be getting a little too over zealous.
Case in point, an article titled “Steelers Season Ends with a Thud,” published on January 8th in the Tribune Review. As stated above, the basic premise of the article is not in dispute.
However, in chronicling what we already know, the author makes a rather egregious error. Quoting directly from the article:
"[Ben Roethlisberger] did almost orchestrate the biggest comeback in NFL playoff history, but it would not have been necessary in the first place if not for three first half interceptions and a fumble on the final drive of the game when he was being sacked for the sixth time." [Emphasis Added.]
Really drives the argument home, doesn’t it?
Alas, the writer’s point would be more potent it were correct….
The Steelers were 18 points down at one point. It would have been quite a come back had they held on. Alas, the largest comeback in NFL playoff history was lead by former University of Maryland Quaterback Frank Reich. Standing in for Jim Kelly, he led the Bills back from a 35-3 deficit to victory against the Houston Oilers on January 3, 1993.
Had the Steelers pulled it out, it would have been the best comeback in Steelers playoff history. By a nose. Tommy Maddox brought us back from a 17 point deficit on January 5, 2003 against the Cleveland Browns. While we were down by one point less that day, the Browns were up on us on their own merits. In contrast, we basically spotted the Jags 21 points.
This is simple fact, and one has to wonder if this was just a simple error (given how easily the facts were verified – by someone down in Buenos Aires) or an example of someone who was just a little too eager to paint a portrat of vultures circling.
The Steelers are facing a very difficult off season. Even had we finished a little stronger, the team would have a lot of tough questions to answer about both free agents and aging veterans.
But there’s no need to make things out worse than they are, no need to exaggerate, no need to stray from the facts.