Conference Championship Round: Friday Night Five Questions

Happy Friday to all of you as we are now another day closer to the Pittsburgh Steelers first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. There’s still a lot happening in the football world this weekend and it starts Saturday with the East-West Shrine Game. On Sunday the Conference Championship Games will be played and by the end of that day we’ll know which two teams will playing in Super Bowl XLIX.

As usual, we have five questions for you to ponder as we head off into the weekend and I hope you will take time to answer each ijn the comments below. Thank you for making it such an awesome week here at Steelers Depot as the traffic has been fantastic even though the season ended a few weeks ago. Have a safe weekend.

1 – Is there one Steelers loss that upset you more than the rest? 20 years ago yesterday the Steelers lost to San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game after a fourth down pass from Neil O’Donnell to Barry Foster fell incomplete with just over a minute to play. I proceeded to put my fist through the wall of our house after that play happened and I do believe that was the most upset I’ve ever been after a loss. What about you? Tell us your story.

2 – If there was one question you could ask new defensive coordinator Keith Butler and he’d have to answer 100% honest, what would it be?

3 – Come Week 1 of the 2015 season, will veteran cornerback Ike Taylor be on the roster of an NFL team?

4 – Is there one piece of Steelers memorabilia or merchandise that you own that you value more than all of the others that have? If so, let us know what it is.

5 – Pick the winners of the Conference Championship Games and tell me which game has the best chance of being a blowout.

  • Great questions.

    1) I’d have to go back to when I was a kid. I grew up in Montreal but was actually a Steelers fan before a Canadiens fan. I must have been 3 or 4 when I fell in love with Bradshaw, Greene & Co. My first real memory, though, was the December 24, 1977 game against the Broncos in the first round of the playoffs. I remember being at a birthday party for one of my friends. We were in the basement, but I was more interested in the game, and I kept asking the kid’s brother the score. My dad picked me up and I heard the final score, a 34-21 loss, in the car on the way home. I cried. It was devastating. Long before I learned how difficult it can be to be a sports fan, I felt what it meant. Thankfully, of course, the Steelers rebounded and won the next two Super Bowls. Combined with the Habs winning four straight — and I was at the Forum to see them beat the Rangers for the fourth in a row — it was a great time for my beloved teams. Even the Expos were pretty good.

    2) I’m tempted to say I’d ask him what he really thinks of Lebeau and what he thinks Lebeau’s weaknesses are. As long as our conversation was private, that would be fine. I just wouldn’t want to embarrass Lebeau publicly. And it’s not that I have anything against Lebeau. I love the guy. But I’d really want to get an honest sense of where Butler hopes to take this team.

    3) I’d have to say no. I think the Steelers will draft a CB who can start early. They’ll go with Cortez, Gay, and McCain as their top three at first. Ike will be brought back in some sort of quasi-coaching capacity.

    4) I’d have to go with my Terrible Towel from my first trip to Pittsburgh to see a game several years ago. But I also have a Steelers “Future QB” shirt for my baby daughter, and that just fills me with joy when I see her wearing it.

    5) New England 34, Indianapolis 30 / Seattle 27, Green Bay 24. If Rodgers can’t get on track, Green Bay’s offence is done and Seattle could win by 17 or more. But it’s hard to predict a blowout given Seattle’s offensive limitations. So I’d have to say the Pats could crush the Colts if Luck isn’t on his game and makes more than his usual share of stupid plays. That could be a 40-17 sort of game.

    Have a great weekend, Dave, and all of you in Steelers Nation.

  • I can’t wait to watch both games this Sunday

  • StrengthOfVictory

    1. I REMEMBER THAT GAME!!! It brought down my entire day. I was crushed. I remember the newspaper article about it the next day showed the clinically depressed Steelers fans crossing the bridge in quiet droves, and it also included a shot of a trampled Terrible Towel in some abandoned corner of Three Rivers Stadium. After that, it’s got to be Super Bowl XLV. Even after all the turnovers and mistakes, the Steelers had come back, and were driving with SERIOUS momentum. Trailing just 21-17, there was a thrill that victory was possible. And then…the Mendy fumble. Ugh. It just seemed to kill everything. Took me more than a week before I could ignore it.

    2. “How many Steelers defensive players are you 100% comfortable starting Week 1 of 2015, and who are they?”

    3. I don’t think so. I can’t seem him wanting to play for anyone else. Like Hines, he may say otherwise, but I think he takes the hint that time has caught up to him.

    4. I bought a Terrible Towel for my son when he was 2. (He is now almost 7.) I’m not one for collecting autographs for myself, but for him (and with him, whenever possible), I have collected at least a dozen Steelers signatures on it (most recently Heath Miller), so that he can begin his fandom in the best way possible, and have something that reminds him of our shared love for the Steelers.

    5. Seattle over Green Bay … Indianapolis over New England. Seattle will very nearly embarrass the Packers. It will seem like a good game at first, but I envision Aaron Rodgers running for his life in this game. It’s going to get ugly at Century Link. The Indy/NE game will be the game to watch…possibly a better game than the Super Bowl. I could see it going either way, but I think Andrew Luck gets his first Conference Championship.

  • GoSteelerz

    1. Makes me want to puke to this day… The Super Bowl loss to the Dallas Cow… I can’t even finish that sentence… Suffice to say, it’s the only time I can remember, in a Super Bowl, that the team that won the game physically, lost it on the scoreboard…

    2. Do you plan on starting Shamarko Thomas?

    3. No.

    4. Mel Blount jersey… Hangs in a safe place in my closet…

    5. I hate, despise, loathe, etc. New England, but I think they win, and even worse that it will be an extremely depressing blowout, depressing in part because the Colts are my second favorite team. And Seattle will win a tough, physical matchup, finishing strong at the end, winning by 10 or so…

  • chris ward

    1. SB loss in Dallas, I was speechless after that game, It took me a couple of weeks to get over the loss. 2002 Divisional playoff loss to the Titans is a close second.
    2. Which player on your defense plays with the best technique?
    3. No.
    4. Signed football from Hines Ward.
    5. Winners: IND and GB. I think GB and SEA will be a great game, so IND and NE has the best chance to be a blow out.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    1. My blood pressure still spikes whenever I think about Neil O’Donnell throwing those two interceptions in the flat. The Steelers were not supposed to lose Super Bowls. A close second is the Super Bowl loss to Green Bay. I still think someone else was open on that last 4th down play. As an aside, my most serious Steelers related injury occurred after the kick off to open the second half of Super Bowl XIV against the Rams. Larry Anderson had a great run back and I was jumpng up and down on the couch screaming and inadvertently jammed my raised fists into the stucco ceiling. Sliced them up pretty good and the blood stains stayed up on the ceiling for years much to my Mother’s (RIP) consternation.

    2. What are the details of Dick LaBeau’s resignation. Who initiated it.

    3. No. But he should stay in shape in case we need to call him back mid-season.

    4. Great question. It’s a toss up between a Terrible Towel I carried in Iraq for one year that Franco Harris signed and a signed number 70 Steeler’s jersey.

    5. Irrelevant. 2014 season is over.

  • pittfan

    1. i still cant get over tebow to thomas. i wanna find ryan mundy and kick him in the n**s.
    2. are we still gonna play “tackle the catch”?
    3. no. see #1.
    4. i have a decopauge I made of Franco in his rookie year
    5. seattle/new england….seattle being the most likely blow out

  • Ryan Barton

    1. The playoff loss to Tim Tebow.
    2. Which position on this defense needs to be addressed the most and how?
    3. No. Not even the Cardinals.
    4. When the Steelers beat the Cardinals in the Superbowl, which was on my Birthday, I got my favorite player’s jersey, Troy Polamalu. Amazing game. Best day of my life! Superbowl is on my birthday again this year. Its a shame they couldn’t make it back, lol.
    5. Patriots and Packers. My prediction is that New England will win by about 17 points.

  • Michael Napier

    The AFC Conference Championship loss Big Ben’s rookie year has to be most painful to me the Super Bowl losses stung, but to go 15-1 and only have to beat two teams we had already dominated in the regular season destroyed me. Not until we lifted the Lombardi the next season did it feel completely better. But I look back and still think what might have been.

  • Steve

    1- I agree. Toughest loss, for me, was that San Diego game in the AFC Championship game. Close second was the 2001 Championship game vs. NE. Steelers were the better team that year, no doubt in my mind.

    2- I would ask Coach Butler if he believes he can fix the pass rush and raise the sack totals. When this defense is getting pressure and hitting the QB, that is when they are at their best. The D has struggled in that area the last 3-4 years.

    3- I think Ike will only play for the Steelers. I don’t think they will bring him back. I don’t see him on any roster

    4- All of my Steelers stuff means a lot..lol

    5- I will pick Seattle to win. The way Rodgers looked last week, he will struggle against that D with a bum calf. Part of Rodgers’ game is his mobility, moving around, etc. I would say it will be somewhat close, maybe 24-16, Seattle

    I think NE could blow the Colts out. If there is a blowout, I think it would be this game. But I think the Colts will make things interesting. I am gonna say 35-27, New England

  • Matt Manzo

    1: Tim Tebow hurt a lot! I ALMOST burned all my Steelers possessions! But the SB losses to Dallas and Green Bay made me sad! We coulda won those!

    2: why haven’t our young guys and late round picks on D, been able to develop the last 5 years?

    3: I think Ike’s done. He wants to coach now! I’d love to see Lake and Ike coaching the DBs!

    4: I have an unopened can of Iron City beer from the 70/80s that I love! All my jerseys are bad luck!

    5: Pats and Seattle SB. Which is perfect! Old dynast vs new dynasty!
    I think NE has better chance of a blow out.

  • JohnB

    1. Still mad about Neil O’Donnell lost Super Bowl. D deserved it.
    2. You gonna have em press, Mr Butler??
    3. Nope. No luck for Ike
    4. I have a pretty cool Polamalu plaque that I like looking at. haha
    5. Colts and Packers. Colts by 3, Pack by 10. if it goes bad, Pats will blowout.

  • Chris92021

    1. There have been so many disappointments but the one that comes to mind is the 2004-05 AFC title game loss to the Patriots. We beat up the Patriots and end their 21 game winning streak earlier in the season, the team goes 15-1 with a rookie QB and we lose so badly. At the time I was thinking the Steelers would never win one in my lifetime and after seeing the losses in previous AFC title games, I thought Cowher was destined to be Schottenheimer 2.0 and the Steelers would never win one. I could get over the loss to the Chargers because frankly I was a young kid and not as emotionally invested. The Super Bowl 30 loss to the Cowboys sucked but the Cowboys were at the end of their dynasty, and the loss to the Tebow-led Broncos was more embarrassing than painful. However, the 2004-05 AFC title game takes the cake. Yeah, I saw the Steelers win it all the very next season but that sting of seeing a 15-1 team not get to the Super Bowl (and watching both Super Bowl participants that the Steelers beat by a combined score of 61-23) hurt so much.

    2. What is the best barbecue in Memphis?

    3. No. I expect Ike to be a defensive assistant with the Steelers, much like Joey Porter was this season.

    4. Don’t really have anything that I especially treasure. All the stuff I have, from jerseys, jackets, DVDs, magazines, books, pictures, programs, etc, can be replaced. The memories of watching the Steelers in person and on TV are always with me wherever I go.

    5. Seahawks over the Packers, Patriots over the Colts. I think the Seahawks blow out the Packers by over 20 points again, so the Packers’ season began and ends the same way: losing by 20 points in the Clink to the Seahawks on national TV.

  • JohnB

    haha to number 4. I don’t have any steeler gear that I can wear on game day for that exact reason.

  • Aaron

    1. I’m a teen so I can’t go back that far. But the most painful loos was the Tebow game. When they were winning I was stunned and when Tebow hit Thomas for 6 I couldn’t talk in school for like a day.

    2. What is your opinion on what position has the biggest hole? Where will we turn in the draft?

    3. He will likely follow Joey Porter’s steps I guess.

    4. My lucky Steeler hoodie

    5. Packers, Patriots. My brother is a die hard Colt fan and has been for years but a blowout seems likely

  • Lawrence Williams

    1.) The loss to SD in the AFC Championship, the loss to GB in the SB, and the loss to the Den in the Wildcard ending with Tebow to Thomas, are all three the worst loss ever. All three are easily the worst I’ve ever felt after a football game.
    2.) What positions are he hoping to draft for vs which positions will be field by Free Agents, and who are those draft an FA Targets?
    3.) No, he’d die first.
    4.) My Franco Harris Jersey, got it for Christmas in 1981
    5.) The Colts will be blown out by NE, not that I want that. GB may beat SEA, but probably not, I think GB purposely avoid Sherman in the first Game of the season anticipating that they would meet in the Conference Championships. They could have a great plan to beat him and they’re coverage schemes, that they want to hide until 2nd half of the most important game aside from the Superbowl. That was my theory after the first week, why else would one of the best QB’s not throw to one side. I’ve heard that Greg Maddux would let potential Playoff opponents get hits during the season, only to set them up for big outs in the playoffs.

  • Reno

    1) The SD playoff loss was the most painful for me. I don’t ever remember being so depressed after a loss.
    2) Who is more responsible for Shamarko not playing Tomlin or Lebeau? The answer is not they both are equally responsible. If Tomlin is more responsible than we may have a problem moving forward.
    3) No. With all do respect to Taylor he was lucky to be on the Steelers roster in 2014.

    4) My Heath Miller shirt is my most prized possession.
    5) Seattle & NE. Seattle has a better chance of blowing out GB.

  • Lambert58

    1. Dave, you nailed it. That game against SD in the ’94 AFC Championship. I was livid. Didn’t destroy anything but went immediately to the gym and had the workout of my life. Honorable Mention: When Bettis fumbled against the Colts in ’05. Thank God they won.
    2. Were there young players over the years that should have been promoted past veterans and you knew they were better but they were not because of LeBeau? Who?
    3. No, he will retire when he is not offered a contract.
    4. A knit black & yellow Steelers hat with pom pom that I got for my 8th birthday. Still have it and wear it sans the pom pom.
    5. Seattle & NE. NE has a better chance of blowing out the Colts.

  • Josh Gustad

    1. Hands down the most upsetting loss was to Tim Tebow in the playoffs. What a joke that fairy is. The 2002-2003 playoff loss to Tennessee was pretty upsetting as well when Dewayne Washington blocked the kick in overtime but it was running into the kicker.
    2. Does he plan on utilizing Shark over Polamalu if he decides to come back.
    3. No, he should have retired after being punked against Tebow.
    4. Hines Ward jersey. Nothing to crazy but he will always be my favorite Steeler.
    5. Seattle and New England wins. I think both games could be potential blowouts. That Seattle defense can really help ignite that offense if they shutdown the Packers offense in the first half. I also do not think Indianapolis is very good either. They are lucky Peyton threw like Jamarcus Russell all game.

  • Zach

    1. That has to be one of the loss to the Raiders in recent years. Losing to good teams while competing is part of the game so I don’t get that much upset. Usually these games come to one or two plays and whoever executes it better wins, as the many examples we’ve seen here. But I go nuts when we don’t show up and lose a game (specially to the Raiders).

    2. “What would you do differently to generate a pass rush? Will you change players, schemes, or both?”

    3. No way — Ike will most likely not be offered a contract and will prepare for coaching DBs with the Steelers. Great career though!

    4. Polamalu’s jersey from 2007, which I don’t wear at game days anymore for reasons similar to Matt Manzo’s. Everytime I look at this jersey it makes me sad that Troy cannot play at the same level as back then…

    5. Seattle 21, GB 10 and NE 42, IND 28. Highest potential of blowout at NE, but honestly I could see that going either way. It will be fun to watch.

  • Spencer Krick

    1. Super Bowl XLV (Steelers v Packers). I was getting so angry because it looked as if the team just gave up after the half. Still think we could have won that game.

    2. How do you plan to change the secondary?

    3. False, I don’t think Ike is going to play for anyone but Pittsburgh. I think he’s done as a player, and he moves on to do something else within the organization.

    4. My Bettis jersey is still my favorite, though I will rotate in my Pouncey jersey.

    5. My picks are Seattle and NE. I will say, if Green Bay manages to beat Seattle, get ready to hear about nothing but Aaron Rogers for a while. (Probably well deserved) I think NE is more likely to blowout the Colts more than any other scenario.

  • Jason

    O-H

  • Jason

    Not sure what you mean Spencer, in your response to #1 you say it seemed like we quit at the half. We were down 21-10 at the half and dominated much of the 2nd half cutting it to 28-25 at one point.

  • Jason

    1) Lot’s to choose from but I’ll say the Packers SB loss. It looked like we could be blown out early but we fought back in the 3rd with , I believe, a chance to take the lead down 28-25 before Mendy fumbled on the 1st play of the 4th qtr. So many blown opportunities.
    2) I’d ask if ever presented any alternative schemes to Lebeau that were shot down.
    3) No
    4) My authentic Steelers helmet autographed by Mean Joe, Dwight White, Ernie Holmes and LC Greenwood.
    5) Seattle and NE. NE has the best chance at a blowout. In fact I think it will be. Pats 31-14 Seattle 23-21

  • Rod Hedrick

    1, I have the same game as Dave, I will always curse Alfred Pupunu and that Charger team. The Steelers would have smoke the Niners.

    2. Can we get a good corner?

    3. No, I think he is ready to retire

    4. I have a Bill Cowher Autographed team picture, An autographed Bradshaw card and an Ike Signed Football

    5. Seattle and Indy Hawks shut down the pack

  • Jason

    2 questions for you. 1) Were you there when Ike signed the ball and 2) if so how many times did he drop the ball during the signing?

  • Spencer Krick

    Then maybe I misremembered and was pissed off at the first half. All I know is it was a game we should have won.

  • Jason

    Yes we should have. We struggled in the first half and as I remember Randle El made a big play to get us in the red zone and we scored right before the half. We cut it to 3 with the ball to start the 4th and Mendy fumble in GB territory to kill all momentum.

  • Stout

    1) Last playoff loss to the Pats, we’d win that SB ….
    2) How many pass rushers do we need?
    3) No
    4) My kids Polamalu jersey. Doesn’t fit him anymore, but awesome memories.
    5) IDGAF

  • Julius aka Julius

    Many heartbreak loses, all big games. At least we got to big games more consistently than most teams and won our share. The big hurts were big games we lost but were the better team. Losing SB to Dallas and SD AFCCG was on NO. Put a championship QB is those situations he finds a way to win them. NO was good enough to get to the threshold of champion, but not good enough to cross it. 76 AFCCG loss to Oak was tough, but maybe if we won 3 straight we don’t win in 78 & 79. 72 loss to Miami was tough, they were undefeated and one play Sieple’s fake punt beat us. All that crap about Miami being the greatest team ever would never have happened. The loss to GB sucked but didn’t haunt me, Rodgers was the best QB in the league and it was just his time. The loss to NE bothered me on two fronts, one of them being the frustration that something unnatural was happening. It was, they cheated.

    If butler could answer honestly I’d ask him if our head coach is as ignorant as I believe him to be. How can a NFL head coach not understand time management? Why do we draft speed over toughness? The great head coaches were damn smart guys, deep thinkers, disciplined men who demand precision: Noll Vince Shula Brown Gibbs Landry

  • Carlos Ortega Fernández

    1. Just one? I can call 4: The lost vs SD on AFC Championship, the lost to Tebow’s Broncos, the lost to GB on SB, and most of all the SB lost against the Cowgays

    2. Will you bring a new system or will you just improve what LeBeau started??

    3. I don’t think so. I think he will anounce his retirement as a Steeler

    4. My photos with Franco Harris and my jersey autographed by Franco when he came to Mexico City

    5. I think Colts and Seahawks will play SB

  • Phil Brenneman II

    1. I used to get mad at all losses equally. I am an optimist and typically expect to win. Worse than anger was the expectation of losses and the “what did I expect to happen?” attitude that started to form over the past two 8-8 seasons.

    2. I would cheat a little and ask for his true thoughts on each player on defense. 1 question but lots of answers. I like Dick LaBeau and Tomlin but I get sick of hearing about how every player is doing good and the arrow is pointing up. Would be refreshing to hear some real opinions.

    3. No and if he is, he shouldn’t be. Ike did a lot for us but his days of being an NFL calibre CB are done.

    4. Nothing in particular. I have a lot of jerseys but all of players I really liked so it is all equal.

    5. Seahawks and Patriots. Patriots/Colts game has the best chance of being a blowout.