Thursday, January 03, 2019

Sean On Pittsburgh Sports

The biggest story in Pittsburgh sports clearly involves the son of now former Riverhounds assistant coach Mark Pulisic. If you haven’t heard, Chelsea signed his son Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund for approximately $73 million. Not too shabby.

(I'll miss seeing Pulisic in black and gold though.)

Oh, did something else happen in Pittsburgh sports? Perhaps you want to read all about the Penguins scoring 7 goals (chili goal! chili goal! chili goal! chili goal! chili goal!) in a 7-2 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday, extending the team's winning streak to 7 games.

Oh, not what you're looking for? Fine. The Steelers finished 9-6-1 and failed to reach the playoffs. The team had a turnover differential of -11, good for 28th out of 32 NFL teams. If the team had an awful but slightly better turnover differential, they would have reached the playoffs, and Pittsburgh sports fans would be talking about a playoff match-up this weekend instead of this mess.

I don't really want to get into this, but I will. Ben Roethlisberger is the best QB in franchise history, but he also tends to call out teammates on his radio show and threw way too many interceptions this season. He is a good teammate or not a good teammate. Mike Tomlin is still in the top tier of NFL coaches or his team lacks discipline and his players have tuned him out. The defense was inconsistent and gave up too many second half touchdowns. Chris Boswell had an awful season. Unfair penalties. The Le'Veon Bell saga. Ugh, make this all stop. Again, if the team made the playoffs, most of this stuff would have gone away. Winning hides a lot of things.

Now, to top it all off, there's Antonio Brown. Basically, Antonio Brown may or may not have had an injured knee, but he failed to show up to his MRI. He may have been unable to play on Sunday due to an injury or he was suspended. Regardless, he didn't play and now it sounds like he's asked to be traded. Except that Coach Mike Tomlin says that he hasn't asked for a trade.

Here's my two cents. Brown can be difficult and he's a diva. He also remains one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Brown had 104 catches for nearly 1,300 yards, and an amazing 15 touchdowns in 15 games. He's probably a bad teammate, yet, he's so productive. The Steelers would be worse without him. Plus, you can't discount the money. As ESPN's Bill Barnwell tweeted, "If you’re reading that the cap isn’t an issue with an Antonio Brown trade, just ask this: has a team ever eaten 10% of the cap in dead money to trade a Pro Bowl player in the prime of his career?"

While I may dispute the prime of his career part of this Tweet, the rest is accurate. You can't give up 10% of your salary cap to one player not on your roster. Brown isn't going anywhere. With the season over, let's let cooler heads prevail. Brown and the Steelers organization will take some time away from each other and realize that they both need each other.

Again, just make this all stop!

In the meantime, can we have a little joy in our lives? Antonio Brown was (spoiler) good on The Masked Singer, FOX's new show Wednesday night. Yes, really!

By the way, Robin Thicke was an excellent judge on the show. I may need to have a separate blog post just about The Masked Singer. (The terrific Emily Yahr wrote a terrific piece about it.)

The Christian Pulisic picture is from Sports Illustrated.

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