While the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 season hasn’t exactly met with hopes and expectations that Steeler Nation hoped for, it’s still fun to poke around the division and realize that not everything is as shiny as it might appear for the rest of the division.
The Mistake by the Lake: Victim, Arrogant or Oblivious?
One has to wonder if there is anything Myles Garrett doesn’t think he’s a victim of. The Cleveland Browns defensive end has had a great start to the season and is undeniably one of the NFL’s best young defensive players, but his complaint over Twitter that he was drug tested after playing sleeveless against the Minnesota Vikings appear as if he’s suffering from a persecution complex or just massively narcissistic (or both).
This is the same guy who tried to play the victim to gain sympathy when he assaulted Mason Rudolph by swinging a helmet at his head. Now, he’s complaining that the NFL has singled him out because of what, having tree trunks for arms and being in great shape?
If you’re clean and your arms are that jacked and shredded that someone thinks you might be living better life through chemistry, the joke is on them because that is a compliment. He can certainly drop the victim mentality because no one is going to feel sorry for going through the inconvenience of a urine screen for your job, especially when you’re paid $100M for it.
Double Standards and Hypocrisy are Alive and Well in Baltimore
The Baltimore Ravens certainly seem to want it both ways when it comes to Lamar Jackson. One would think when your QB has back-to-back 1,000 rushing seasons and leans more to playing the position like a RB that getting hit during a game wouldn’t be a big deal. But Jackson took to Twitter to complain about the lack of a flag for a late hit upon throwing a 49-yard TD pass vs. the Denver Broncos. The hit Jackson complained of was more embarrassing to view than egregious, as he landed flat on his butt. In fact, he was celebrating and running down the field immediately afterwards, but the stain of his complaining about being protected from referees was undermined by the hypocrisy of the Ravens.
Jim Harbaugh elected to run Jackson on a sweep instead of taking victory formation with the sole intent of tying the Steelers (’74-’77) record of 43 consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Jackson’s 5-yard sweep may have tied the record, but it undermined the integrity of both what a record is as well as their argument about protecting Jackson as a QB.
Jackson was put at risk on that play for no reason than to pad the record books and Harbaugh should have known it. He was there when Haloti Ngata broke the nose of Ben Roethlisberger, who despite blood spilling down his face and no flag thrown, continued to play – and beat – the Ravens to clinch the AFC North Championship just a few years back. Jackson and the Ravens have no leg to stand on to complain about getting protection from the referees.
And Broncos head coach Vic Fangio probably put it best: “I thought it was kind of bulls**t.”
100% of Nothing is Still Nothing
Speaking of the Ravens, they activated former Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell for the game against the Broncos this past Sunday. In his season debut, he had 4 carries for 11 yards with 0 catches.
Then the Ravens sent him back down to the practice squad Monday.
The Steelers took a lot of criticism from the Twitter mob for not giving in to the “guaranteed money” that Bell wanted with their 5-year, $70M offer that had “only” $10M guaranteed in the signing bonus.
Bell of course, signed for less money with the New York Jets in a 4-year, $52M deal ($35M guaranteed) but since guaranteed is a misleading term as it comes in form of roster, signing, workout, etc. bonuses that he was paid less than half his guaranteed money – that came with the higher taxes of New York/New Jersey paying “their fair share” and of course with the agent getting their “cut” when he was cut by the Jets.
Bell has burned his bridges with 3 different teams after he would have made $45M after 3 seasons with the Steelers. He said he wanted what he deserved, maybe he got it after all.
Other Random Thoughts
The Browns are off to their best start in years, but then you realize they have played a creampuff schedule and still have Baker Mayfield as the QB they are uncertain about committing to with a large contract, and more than half of their top players contracts are due in 2023. Enjoy that 2-year window, it’s going to shut pretty fast.
Lamar Jackson’s 49-yard TD was a career best. Not only did Ben Roethlisberger best that as a rookie, but Kordell Stewart topped it multiple times as well – meaning that the former MVP cannot match Stewart’s career long in passing: 90-yard, rushing: 80-yard, or receiving: 71-yards. Can’t you just wait for the Ravens to be stuck paying him $40M a year?
Bill Belichick definitely is ruthless with the cut them one year too early vs. one year too late philosophy – this time with Stephon Gilmore. It has worked on paper, but man do former New England Patriots lack a sense of pride from their former players when comparing to the Steelers?
Do the Kansas City Chiefs just give off the same vibe as the Green Bay Packers/Aaron Rodgers? Win one Super Bowl, rely more and more on your star QB as the defense gets softer and softer and before you know it, years will have gone by and you wonder why you won only one Super Bowl with Patrick Mahomes?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a steaming hot mess with Urban Meyer. What made them want to pursue a nearly 60-year old college coach to rebuild around? He’s vanished on the team, stained his professional reputation and let himself get caught in compromising video after a dismal loss vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Makes you realize Mike Tomlin ain’t so bad?
Thoughts on the rest of the AFC North? Click to comment below!