“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
I met Hunter S. Thompson when I was working for “The National Football League Players Association” in Washington D.C. In the early 1990's. Hunter was speaking at George Washington University and I had connected to him through the public relations department at the University.
Knowing full well Hunter was a football fanatic. I also knew mentioning that I would bring him an official “NFLPA” hat and tee-shirt and could give him a tour of our offices just might open the door.
That tale is for another time; but let me say it was fun.
So it is with Hunter in mind that I pen this prelude to the 2017 AFC Championship match up between my Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. Or New England “As*****s” as Coach Mike Tomlin might call them.
The Steelers bought their ticket via their pathetic victory over the Kansas City Chiefs over the past weekend.
Pathetic? Yes, pathetic!
The defense and special teams looks spectacular. Like a finely tuned Swiss wristwatch crafted with all the skill and perfection of a ageless time piece; all parts clicked in unison last Sunday night in Kansas.
James "HOF" Harrison and Bud “Ba-boom” Dupree are now the most feared duo of outside linebackers roaming between the hash marks in the “League”.
Timmons and Shazier bring all the power and impact of thunder and lightning.
Ross Cockrell is the cerebral thinking man's corner.
The Rookies are playing like seasoned pros. And Sean Davis hits like a freight train.
Mike Mitchel is out to prove something!
All is right with your Steelers “D”.
Todd Haley's Offense was pathetic. But we will get to that loathing later.
Fear and loathing abound as we head into New England.
Fear them because they went 14-2 this season. Fear them because Tommy-boy has only thrown two INTS. Fear them because Tom Brady is motivated. Fear them because “Fish-Face” is a damn good coach. Fear them because they have home field advantage.
There is no doubt that the Patriots are the most loathed team in the NFL. Yes, all of the familiar elements are there as to why the Patriots are hated. Jealousy, envy and desire lead the way.
When others succeed and when we fail; the weak minded among us all too often let jealousy and envy creep into their hearts .
Loathing for someone else who is better off than we are bloats our belly's with envy and inflames our hearts with hate.
For the past sixteen years the Patriots have been the team to beat. This will be their sixth straight AFC Championship game. They have won four of the six Super Bowls they have played in.
Their star quarterback is damn good looking, married to a super model and has more money than many small countries. And arguably may be the greatest Q.B. to ever play the game.
I loath how he whines and cries like a schoolgirl after he takes the slightest hit. Remember Jim McMahon? Jimmy would just smile at you when you lacerated his kidney. Or Brett Favre? Hell, that boy would play with a punctured lung.
Loathing the Patriots for all those reasons is OK. It's human nature to want to knock the top dog off his perch. Especially a whiney dog.
Loathing the Patriots because they win through cheating is a whole other ballgame!
“In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Patriots most prominent cheating scandals began in 1982 when they were playing the Dolphins in a blizzard. Enter snowplow operator Mark Henderson. Henderson who had permission to plow the sideline markers took it upon himself to veer onto the field and clear the snow from the exact spot that the Patriots kicker, John Smith, was about to kick a field goal from. Don Shula and the Dolphins went nuts! Smith made his field goal. Final score Pats 3-Tuna fish 0.
Who could forget “Spy-gate” in 2007? The Patriots were filming everything they could. Like the scene in the 1980's movies “Porky's” when the horny teenage boys cut a hole in the girls shower and locker room and took all the free “peeky-poo's” they wanted.
Old "Fish-Face" was "looky-louying" anywhere he could.
The Steelers have had their sideline communications mysteriously malfunction during games at Foxboro.
41-27 was the final score of the Pats vs Steelers during the 2015 AFC Championship game. Many Steelers players believe to this day that the Patriots knew every play the Steelers ran. No one knows how. But they know.
NOTE: I do not count “Deflate-Gate” as a scandal. It was a mountain fashioned from the dirt of a molehill. Perhaps the NFL felt as if they had to penalize the Patriots in a similar way that O.J. Simpson was sentenced to thirty three years for “armed robbery” in Vegas. We all knew it was payback for Nicole and Ron. “Deflate-Gate” , although small in it's criminality, would serve as the conductance for justice for sins of the past.
The cherry on top is the fact that despite getting caught cheating the Patriots remain arrogant! That is the definition of an "A-hole".
If not the definition of a socio-path!
So in conclusion. Loathing the Patriots because they win is infantile. Loathing the Patriots because they win through cheating is just.
As for your Steelers Offense; fear and loathing abound for your author.
This might be the best offense that Mike Tomlin has had during his ten year stint at the helm. I believe it's a better offense than the one that won the Super Bowl in Tampa.
The offensive line under the tutelage of Mike Munchak is the best in the NFL as of today.
Ben is one of the top four QB's in the NFL. The other three are also playing this weekend.
Lev' Bell is simply a tapestry of power, beauty, rhythm and blues, a hurricane, a majestic Hawaiian rainbow, a Rembrandt, a marvel to behold, a delight, a ballet dancer, a sledge hammer and the best back in the NFL.
Antonio Brown is one of the top three receivers in the NFL. Dez Bryant and Beckham round out the trio.
My fear and loathing of the Steelers offense lays at the feet of Todd Haley. There is a reason there were six head coaching positions open in the NFL and his phone did not ring. There was a reason some cherry college head coaching jobs were not filled by him. Those who know football and make their livings off the game would rather keep Todd Haley right where he is. In Pittsburgh.
Please refer to below scores and numbers before we continue.
Eagles 34- Steelers 3
Dolphins 30 Steelers 15
Patriots 27 Steelers 16
Ravens 21 Steelers 14
Cowboys 35-Steelers 30
Steelers 24 Bengals 20 NOTE: Boswell six field goals.
NOTE: During these losses:
Todd Haley's Offense scored 42 Points
Chris Boswell scored 30 Points
Steelers 18 Chiefs 16 NOTE: Boswell six field goals.
Todd Haley is NOT A GOOD COORDINATOR! I have nothing against him personally. I'm sure he's a nice guy and would make a great special teams coach.
For the record. Todd Haley did not play high school football. Todd Haley played golf in college. Why is this relevant?
If you do not know the pain associated with the game. If you do not understand what it takes to get up and off the turf when you can't even breath and see straight. When you don't understand that even though most players are in excruciating, breath taking pain; they will tell you they are fine and not to take them out. That when you have never played the game at a superior level you have no concept of the flow and rhythm of the game.
I will now drive my point home! Mike Munchak was one of the greatest O-Lineman to ever play the game. He's been in the trenches. His technique was near perfection. He has the first hand knowledge of combat inside the lines. He knows what works and what does not. He has imparted this sage like wisdom onto to his students.
That is why he was able to shape and mold like clay a 6'6 330lb Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert who was tripping over his own feet and who was constantly reaching out to block a charging D-Lineman and turn him into a solid player, if not future Pro-Bowler.
Munchak played the game at it's highest level. Get my point?
It is simply inexcusable for the Steelers who have an abundance of offensive talent to have put up such dismal numbers during their losses. This offense should have been ready to roll on week one. We all expected them to put up thirty to forty points per game. Never happened.
More sickening and tale of the evidence as to Todd Haley's lack of talent is the fact that our kicker in both the Cincinnati and Kansas game's had to produce the points to win. If it was not for Boswell we loose in Cincy. And this weekend the Chiefs would be New England bound.
Haley had the ball on the Chief's 25 yard line or in the “Red Zone” seven times this past weekend and could not score!
I could go on and on about bad play calling, bad judgment, not using all of his resources, bad game planning and more; but to what good? I do not own the team. I'm not the team's head coach.
If the Steelers loose to "Fish-Face", Brady and all of New England; I simply will die a thousand deaths knowing in my heart of heart's that this Steelers team is as good if not better than the Patriots. They just have a bad offensive coordinator.
I have no clue how this weekend will turn out.
I have no clue if Todd Haley will suddenly figure out the secrets to football.
I do not know if the Steelers can win “despite” Todd Haley.
Like all of "Steelers Nation" I so badly want to beat New England because as Coach Tomlin said, “They're assholes”!
I want revenge for the 2001 AFC Championship here in Pittsburgh. Who amongst us thought we would loose?
I want a reckoning for the 2005 AFC Championship game.
And I want to soak up the sun of “Super Bowl 51” in Houston, Texas.
But most importantly like you, I bleed black and gold.
“And that, I think, was the handle - -that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - -on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - -the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
Hunter S. Thompson-Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
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