The Steelers rose at the same time the city’s economy sank, becoming a symbol of underdog hope.
They still had their Steelers even though the factories, mills and coal mines shuttered. They still had their Steelers as families were ripped apart, children forced to move away in search of opportunity.
It’s a way of life around these parts. We hold our athletes and owners to a high standard. And on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to meet that standard. And not just one or two players, but the entire franchise, from owner on down.”
Given his track record of rebuilding the Bengals into playoff teams after mini-slumps, I would rather bet on a known commodity than an unknown prospect that doesn’t have the chops to handle the unique circumstances of this job. Remember, this is a franchise that traditionally hires coaches with previous ties to the organization, and none of the viable options (Hue Jackson, Jay Gruden and Vance Joseph) hit the streets during this coaching cycle.
“Right after practice, me and one to three other [players] would go to somebody’s house [to get high],” Britton recalls. “Smoking helped me to socialize with teammates. We let our guards down . . . But a lot of the time [stoned talk] wasn’t even about football. Cannabis took us out of football. We were hanging out and just being people. It brought us closer together as teammates.”
So Chiefs coach Andy Reid, in an effort to both rest veteran Alex Smith and give Mahomes some valuable experience, opted to make this move.
“Every snap that he gets is a valuable snap for him for whenever he has that chance of getting in there [as the full-time starter], Fortunately, we’re in a situation where we can do that,” Reid said.
This is something Payton did in 2006, when he selected a handful of players (Reggie Bush, Roman Harper, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief and Marques Colston) that helped make up the core of the team’s Super Bowl-winning squad in 2009. With each of those aforementioned players (plus Rob Ninkovich, who spent a year in New Orleans before moving on to Miami and New England) putting in a decade of service in the league, Payton had enough examples of the kind of players he needed to return the Saints back to prominence.
“The football makeup of that class, those guys all played 10 years,” Payton said. “The football makeup, the intelligence, the grit, those key factors in trying to measure success, it was important that we were clear. We weren’t being hard on each evaluation, but we need that type of foundation again of smart, tough football players that we had a clear vision for.”