The Tribune-Review’s Scotty Brown was right on the mark again. Credit him for being the first of Pittsburgh’s two dailies to make the point, even if it is rather obvious, that the Steelers were so right to choose Hines Ward over Plaxico Burress
I will steal Brown’s thunder by rehashing his article here, instead I recommend you read it yourself.
There are two additional points to Brown’s argument which Steel Curtain would like to add.
The Playoff Catch Against the Patriots Plax Didn’t Make
If ever there was any doubt that as to who to choose between Burress and Ward, it was settled immediately in the moments after his last game as a Steeler.
Recall, the Steelers were trailing early in the 4th, but in position to score a touchdown which would have brought them within seven. Burress had a shot at the ball on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone.
He dropped it
No, it was not an easy catch, by any means, but he could have caught it. (How many in Steelers Nation didn’t think of this play when Burress did catch the ball when the game was on the line in Super Bowl XLII?)
The drop, in-and-of-itself was forgivable – think Santonio Holmes first attempt in the end zone in Super Bowl XLIII.
But after the game, in an act of brazen arrogance, Burress had the nerve claim that the Steelers lost the game because he did not get the ball enough….
Such comments are caustic to a team’s chemistry in the first place. But even leaving that aside, you lose any right whatsoever to make them when you drop a critical touchdown pass in a conference championship game.
Bill Cowher’s Greatest Asset?
Plaxico Burress had a history before the Steelers drafted him. Bill Cowher tested him before the draft, and determined that he could handle Burress.
For the most part he did, the mother’s day mini-camp no show not withstanding.
There were a few other minor things while he was in Pittsburgh, but from a behavioral standpoint, the Steelers won their gamble.
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin richly deserves his reputation as a strict disciplinarian.
Cowher also had a reputation for keeping his players on the line, and his blustery, chin out and in your face style endeared him to fans. (Especially, after someone did something dumb.)
But there was another, less appreciated and too often overlooked side to Cowher. He was demanding, but Bill Cowher really understood when it was time to kick a player in the pants, and when they needed a pat on the back.
This was perhaps his greatest asset. He knew the difference between the two, and he coached accordinly. And if nothing else, Burress behavior as a Steeler and his misconduct as a Giant underscores that fact.