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Trouble in Pittsburgh
One of the biggest under-reported stories in the NFL this decade has been the failure of the Steelers to win a Super Bowl with the trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Leveon Bell. Ben has 2 Super Bowl rings, from 2005 and 2008. They made the Super Bowl in 2010, but lost to the Packers. That year was Antonio Brown’s rookie season and he caught just 16 passes, 0 touchdowns, buried behind Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antwan Randle-El on the depth chart.
For years now, Brown has been considered the best WR in football, while Bell has been considered the best RB. Bell sat out 2018 in a contract dispute and won’t return in 2019 while the above tweet indicates Brown is unlikely to return to Pittsburgh as well.
Since Bell’s arrival in 2013, Steelers never won less than 8 games and made the playoffs 4 out of 6 times. During those 4 playoff appearances, they failed to win a game twice, and never made the Super Bowl and made the Conference Championship game just once.
So whose fault is this failure? Is it the QB with 2 rings? Is it the coach? Mike Tomlin has been there since 2007 and has won 66% of his games and 53% of his playoff games. Maybe both? Or is it the fault of the two best players at their respective positions?
Neither Antonio Brown nor Leveon Bell will return to Pittsburgh in 2019 and a 36 year old Ben Roethlisberger, who struggles with injuries and regressing stats, will remain and we’ll see who the winners and losers are in the coming years.
I know running backs are expendable, but how about a team like the Ravens signing Bell? Pairing him with Lamar Jackson in that rushing offense and the chance to face Pittsburgh twice a year. Raiders and Jets both have money and a desire to add playmakers. Chiefs could always use more potential fire power and the Texans running game has lacked for years.
As for Antonio Brown? He’ll be 31 years old and I wouldn’t break the bank for him. Jets, for example, should absolutely not trade the third pick in the draft and don’t have a second rounder. 49ers should not trade the second overall pick but may want to consider using their high second rounder to make this move.
Steelers will move forward with Ben, James Connor and Juju Smith-Schuster, but we’ll see if the locker room and culture issues continue to exist and see who the blame really should be pointed at (ie – QB/coach).
NBA All Star Voting Update
NBA released the latest results for all star fan voting and….wow. Let’s sort through the mess with 5 observations
- If the All Star game was tomorrow, James Harden would NOT be starting. James Harden, who is the best offensive player n the NBA right now is THIRD behind Derrick Rose. I love Derrick Rose. He’s had an amazing year and should win Comeback Player of the Year. You could certainly justify his selection as an All Star but in no, way, shape, or form should a guy who has scored 40 points, in what feels like 50 straight games, should not be an all star starter.
- Luka Doncic, the rookie sensation, whom the Hawks drafted to trade away and the Suns, Kings, and Grizzlies passed on, has more votes than Steph Curry! Curry, at least, is still in line to start, as Doncic is listed second among forwards behind Lebron James. But his position above Curry certainly raises eyebrows.
- Both men have more votes than Kevin Durant. The Warriors phenom, like Harden, is currently slated to come off the bench. Durant is 4th among forwards behind not just James and Doncic but also Paul George
- Durant. Harden and Russell Westbrook, the former OKC Thunder trio and the last three MVP winners, are not among the starters right now
- No real complaints in the Eastern Conference – Giannis, Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid are too far ahead and are going to be starters. Kyrie Irving will be one of the guards starters and likely Dwayne Wade.
College Football Free Agency Update
The biggest off-season story in college football is the increasing amount of transfers, especially at the quarterback position. Once guys lose their starting job or someone new comes in, the old QB immediately decided to leave. That’s just how it is now. No more competition or waiting your turn.
The biggest name has already committed – Justin Fields, the #1 QB prospect from the 2018 class, has transferred from Georgia to Ohio State. His arrival means OSU QB Tate Martell is on the move. Martell made strong statements last week about staying put and the starting job being his, but apparently something must have changed his mind because he has entered the mythical transfer portal. University of Miami is the strongest rumor for Martell, who would be an excellent fit there.
The other big name is Alabama QB Jalen Hurts, who led Alabama to the 2016 National Championship Game (lost to Clemson) and to the 2017 Championship game (beat Georgia, but benched at half). Hurts spent all of 2018 on the bench behind Tua Tagovailoa. One of the biggest rumors out there with Hurts is that he will join former Alabama OC Mike Locksley at Maryland. I don’t care – this makes no sense. You’re telling me Hurts wants to play the defenses of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State and be coached by a guy who was 2-26 in three years at New Mexico? I don’t buy it. Hurts led Alabama, from the SEC, to back-to-back Championship games. He belongs at the highest level, not Maryland, where they haven’t won 10 games since 2003. Hurts would do well at UCLA, under the tutelage of Chip Kelly or Florida State, a blue blood school known for producing NFL QBs and offering him the chance to get revenge on Clemson.
The Truth about the Browns new head coach
A look at the Cleveland Browns new head coach, Freddie Kitchens, and QB Baker Mayfield’s thoughts summed up in one short phrase
Beginning January 14, M!KEDROPSPORTS will be offering the opportunity for fans to contribute to daily themes, beginning with “Motivation Monday” and continuing one week from today with “FAN TAKE FRIDAY”. Tell us your hottest take in sports – is Giannis the MVP over James Harden? Are the Yankees better without Bryce Harper? Is Drew Brees the MVP over Pat Mahomes? Submit your hot takes and we’ll post them every Friday!
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