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.

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic and author of the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland series. MichaelKReynolds.com
  • steeltown

    Need another good draft first..

  • Dan

    Yes, rooting for the Bungles and doing the Jets cheer at the Steeler bar left a bad taste in my mouth. I hope we never leave our fate in nimrods again (Except for our coaches I guess.)

  • Matt Manzo

    It was a great end to a crappy year! Sure felt funny rooting for the jets, bengals and chiefs! Hopefully we get I watch the chiefs and chargers get embarrassed in round 1!!!!

  • Chris Ranieri

    Nice article.

  • DrakePirate

    Best Post in a while by Steelers Depot … He summed up exactly how I feel … Steel you are right, another good draft or 2 …. how long can Ben play hopefully 5 more solid years !

    If I were the Rooney’s I’d add a free Atheltic Trainer, Cook, and Massage/Physical Therapist to BB’s contract to get every ounce of life left in him … WELL WORTH the Cost …. look at what that 40 yr old swimming Mom did in the Olympics a while back, all with the help of athletic longevity !!

  • T R

    best article you ever wrote… Steelers will never get help, we have to do it ourselves.. we can depend on PI calls like Flaco and missed defense fouls by the Ravens. Other teams to win for our sake.. that was the worst game i have ever had to watch.. to depend a no name brand team to win for the Steelers to get in… ugh.. Lets move back to the top

  • Michael Walsh

    Why did you remove my post?

  • Kenneth Wilt

    It was funny rooting for 3 teams I really don’t like.

    Watching them get blown out in the first round I think is possible. I don’t think the Chiefs have enough to beat the Bengals even with that bad secondary. Truly, I think the NFL wants an Andrew Luck vs. Manning matchup…old Colts QB vs. new Colts QB.

    After that I would be surprised if it isn’t NE vs. Den. Manning breaks the TD record on a wrong call. It will put those 2 guys against each other and be an absolute high scoring ridiculous scoring game.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    this was a year of inches, an inch AB stepped out of bounds, inches missed on field goals whether by succop or shuisham, or inches away from getting a 2 pt conversion, we came so close at times but we never were able to convert those opportunities so maybe it’s a good thing we weren’t in the payoffs. Any ways lets look to next year, because i bet we make it to the playoffs next year with out a doubt

  • cencalsteeler

    How about the NFL coming forward and giving the Steelers a comp pick for their non call on the KC kick? It works both ways, no?

  • steeltown

    Aha.. yes my friend an eye for an eye, seriously this should be considered when the time comes… but the League takes no responsibility for itself so this will be swept under the rug in two days time

  • cencalsteeler

    If the correct call was made according to the rulebook, KC would have another attempt at the 36. The NFL acknowledged their mistake, keeping the Steelers from playoff contention. In my eyes, that’s waaaay more of an affect to an outcome of a game than a coaches foot on the sidelines. Where is the justification? There should be compensation of some sort rather than just an acknowledgement of a mistake.

  • chris ward

    Agree, hope the Steelers don’t have to rely on other teams next year to get into the playoffs. Hopefully in 2014 they take care of business against teams that they are clearly more talented then, so they are not put in that position again.

  • RW

    You bet. Especially since our infraction didn’t result in the Ravens missing the playoffs, but the KC infraction certainly resulted in our missing the playoffs. In any case, I’m happy we pick one spot ahead of the ratbirds this year.

  • RMSteeler

    Finally scored in bunches the last half of the season! It’s been years! Defense was always saving the day in past few years. Roles reversed last half of this season. Now, if the defense can only improve 50% next year, the offense may be able to cover for THEM.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Absolutely! Love the article.

    I hate to say this, but coach Belichick figured this out a long long time ago, and he is hated for it. Players get hurt, refs can influence a score or maybe even two, but that is all moot if you are bludgeoning the competition by 3 or 4 TDs.

    Here’s hoping the Steelers develop a no mercy attitude in 2014 and score as much as possible when they are able.

  • Jeff

    Horse Shoes and Hand Grenades… Sounds like something that should be coming out of Mathew McConaughey’s mouth

  • BurgherinMD

    I would say the NFL, through the incompetence of its officiating paid the Steelers back plenty for Tomlin’s incident. It is infuriating that they still (again LaCanfora’s words) have not finished with deciding the Steeler’s “punishment”/loss of potential conditional draft pick when considering the reputation of the franchise and front office and considering the snow job in yesterday’s SD/KC game.

  • alex

    needs to be a ‘BIG D’ draft because we are thin everywhere on that side of the ball…

  • alex

    yes, yes!

    crush, kill, destroy Steelers is my motto for 2014!

    ala, the 9er west coasters, ala the hated pats!

    fork winning on the last drive by a FG…

  • HopalongCassidy

    Sadly, the Steelers mindset has never been to crush anyone. They usually play-down to the competition and when they get a lead, they go into stall mode. Next thing you know, the other team is catching up. This may have worked in the past but times have changed. The Steelers finished the season has the 20th ranked NFL offense…hardly a sign of a crushing offense. They need a big tough receiver to compliment Brown and at least an offense tackle to help the line on the offense at the minimum and the coaching staff needs to change their mindset of trying to sit on small leads.