Thursday, January 19, 2006

Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

Steelers on a roll come playoff time

This was to be a tale about two coaches. Come now, all of you have heard of “The Tale Of Two Cities.” This was to be a tale about the head coach at Ole Miss (Rod Barnes) and the head coach at Miss State (Rick Stansbury). Each has been at his post eight years, each was assistant before.

What’s not to write about? Well, that was all before the happenings this weekend in the NFL (for those of you who did not watch, though I can’t imagine who “you” would be, the alma mater went on to beat State).

So, tale change. How about a tale of two teams and three quarterbacks?

The teams, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. The quarterbacks, Peyton Manning, Big Ben Roethlisberger and Rex Grossman.

The Steelers, trying to get back to the days of Franco Harris and Terry Bradshaw, have been tearing up the real estate in the playoffs. They sent Cincinnati home while Indianapolis was taking a vacation(bye). The Steelers had to wish and hope for a chance at the playoffs while the Colts were a shoe-in.

Ben Roethlisberger had 10 career TDs against three interceptions.

Peyton Manning, two-time MVP and leading the NFL’s most productive offense had nine TDs in his last two playoff games. So what happened?

Manning just didn’t match up well with the Steelers’ secondary curtain. Please don’t get me wrong; the game was a peach, and the ending was nailbiting. So the Steelers get the shot at the grapes again next weekend against the Denver Broncos. Carolina will head way out West for Seattle after dispatching Chicago.

Ah, Chicago, the last part of the tale and Rex Grossman. Grossman was making his first playoff start and his eighth career game. Shaky at first, he put together a string of passes that rocked those Carolinians. He will be back.

Now comes the outlook. My son Christopher called and stated that everyone should bet the caravan on the Seahawks. He believes firmly that the Panthers will be throttled and that the Steelers will corral the Broncos in next weekend’s conference championships.

Since I can’t possibly let my son be right, I have to disagree. If Pittsburgh gets past the Broncos they will beat Seattle (or anyone else in motor town).

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