Horseshoes And Hand Grenades

By Michael K. Reynolds

When the 2013 season of the Pittsburgh Steelers came to an inglorious end with one miserable Chase Daniel two-hopper it instantly got stamped as the greatest playoff qualification tease in team history.

Close. Very, very close.

Never before have so many miracles weaved themselves together in such tantalizing fashion only to crash to the ground with the loudest of thuds. It was a high stakes, high thrill, big screen blockbuster with Steelers fans from all over spilling their popcorn, kicking their chairs and putting teeth marks in their Terrible Towels. The most improbable of finishes, it was the perfect Hollywood script…except for the happy ending.

To have both the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins choke in their final two games? To have Andy Reid march into San Diego with his white flag hoisted high, putting out on an NFL battlefield his ball boys, a few assistant trainers and a couple of his nephews to take on the surging Chargers. Should we even watch?

But then it’s another Miracle on 34th Street. The Chiefs ahead late in the game? And we’re all shouting, RUDY, RUDY…RUDY.

Close. Very, very close.

And how many games this season did the Steelers lose by a whisker? A single fraying thread? A half-inch of a shoe. A terrible call or two.

Close. Very, very close.

Which leads us back to the lesson that will hopefully be tattooed in the minds of this new generation of Steelers players. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades and if you play with explosives you’re going to get hurt.

So in 2014. Forget about close. Forgetaboutit. About squeaking in.

It’s not about being competitive. It’s about domination. Starting off the season in a blaze of glory. Getting a lead and running up the score. Never again having to rely on someone else to get you a ticket to the dance.

Enough with the mediocrity. Two seasons of 8-8 is all we can endure.

The foundation is there. The team has momentum. But let’s not be content. Let’s build up this squad and grow stronger and faster.

In 2014 it’s time to get back again to domination.  It’s time for Steelers football.

About the Author

Michael K. Reynolds
Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic and author of the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland series.