ESPN Disses Steelers with “Team of the Decade” Honors

One of the frustrating things of running at site like Steel Curtain Rising is that ideas always outweigh free time to write. Some ideas can simply put it on the back burner until time can be found, other times the moment simply passes you by. apparently doesn’t have that problem. In fact, they’re proactive to a fault. Literally.

More than six months of 2009 remain, yet has sought fit bestow All Decade honors.

Nothing wrong with that, except that if you’ve been following the series, ESPN has snubbed the Steelers.

Alan Fanaca was the only Steelers to make it on offense, and Troy Polamalu was the only player to make it on defense. Should more Steelers have made the team? Probably, but, but Steel Curtain Rising leaves that to others.

The most galling part of the series was to hand the team of the decade title to the Patriots and Bill Belichick.

This isn’t surprising, but unsurprising does not equal correct.

Steel Curtain Rising addressed this issue during the 2008 season when we took Michael Wilbon, a writer whom we have the utmost respect, to task for declaring that “Colts and the Patriots” were the two dominant teams of the current decade.

Conceding that the Patriots had the outside track on the “team of the decade title,” Steel Curtain Rising argued against elevating the Colts alongside the Patriots without also elevating the Steelers.

But that was October 2008.

Since then the Steel Curtain Has Risen Again in the form of Lombardi Trophy Number Six. Yes, New England still has one more. If you apply ESPN’s logic rationally, this fact should compel them to hold off on awarding All Decade Honors. Read on:

When a team wins three Super Bowls in four years and plays in its conferencechampionship game five times in a decade with one season to go, the choices

The last eight words amount to a mighty ironic contradiction, “with one season to go, the choices crystallize.”

Cancel the 2009 season then, because the outcome must be for-ordained.

And that’s the point. The NFL and the NFLPA’s looming labor dispute might endanger the 2010 season, but during 2009 we’re going to have NFL football. Why is that important?

Consider what ESPN offers a little later on:

The difference, though, is the Lombardi Trophy. Cowher and Dungy won one apiece. Belichick won three in an unprecedented four-year span.

(¿Unprecedented? I guess that Dallas’ Super Bowls in 1992, 1993, and 1995 somehow don’t count as winning three in a four year span.)

We bring that point out, because it is impossible for the Steelers to win three in four years, but it is not impossible for them to match the Patriots record of excellence in the first decade of the 21st century.

The Steelers will return all but two starters. They’re led by the youngest man ever to coach a Super Bowl victory, Mike Tomlin, a man who made it clear he was hungry for more, the morning after Super Bowl XLIII.

Winning Lombardi Trophy Number Seven is going to be very, very hard for the Steelers. But they’re going to take their shot at it next year.

And if they’re successful, they’ll have equaled the Patriots.

If that happens, the Patriots will still have plenty of arguments in their favor, but the Steelers at least deserve an equal chance.

ESPN hasn’t given them that, and therefore they’ve undermined the credibility of their “Team of the Decade” honors.

P.S. ESPN also named Bill Belichick coach of the decade. The same Bill Belichick who was caught cheating red handed. Steel Curtain Rising invites Steelers Nation to take up that argument in the comment section.

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6 thoughts on “ESPN Disses Steelers with “Team of the Decade” Honors

  1. Ya sabes como adoran los de ESPN a los patriotas… I totally agree with you in that the Steelers should be considered right at the top along with the Pats.

  2. [For those of you who do not speak Spanish, Daniel started by saying “you already know how ESPN loves the Patriots.”


    Thanks. My point is that if only one team can be considered the “team of the decade” then the Steelers at least deserve a shot to equal that Pat’s record.

    Thanks for commenting.


  3. I guess winning a lot of close games while calling plays with the aid of videotaping the opposition’s defensive signals isn’t a factor in their evaluation. (some at the expense of the Steelers) How much of an advantage that gave them is impossible to determine, but an advantage was clearly had. If even one or two of those games swing the other way they aren’t even in this discussion. I will forever hate the Patriots and what they stand for. Team of the decade my foot. “NFL Black Eye of the Decade” is more like it.

  4. Mark,

    Welcome. You accurately describe the core issue.

    How much of an edge did Billy B’s cheating give him?

    No one knows, and no one will know since Goodell destoryed the evidence.

    While I share your for disdane for Belichick, as a team the Pats have done a lot.

    My theory is that much of that credit belongs to Scott Poli. What is so frequently forgotten, is that Belichick was a horrendous coach when he was with Cleveland. His motto seemed to be, “when tied for first place, cut/or bench your starting quarterback.” He did it to Kosar in 1993, and then Vinny in 1995.

    While he clearly under achived in Cleveland, did he become a genius talent evaluator et. al. Between 1996 and 2000?

    Anyway, I tend to give the Pat’s their due when it comes to team accomplishments, but as a coach, I think Belichick should not get any honors.

    If nothing else it makes up for the slap on the wrist that Goodell gave him.

  5. Greg in CARLISLE, PA…. The Steelers deserve to be mentioned right with the Patriots if they win number 7 this year. ESPN is ridiculous to not say that. They also messed up like some drunk fools by putting Indy above Pittsburgh. If trophies matter more to them, then Pittsburgh would be #2 for sure. What’s more regular season victories mean, when you choke in the playoffs? I’ll take the rings and the playoff glitz anyday! Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu coming to them was a blessing in disguise. When you bring megastars that hate to lose to your team, you win, and you win, and you win some more! Ben and Troy are miracle workers working under Roger The Cop, and everyone else.

    PS: The Patriots will forever be known as cheaters. Those in Boston, and those that love purity ignore this. Normal people will never forget. Bill The Cheater could not have a second Cleveland fiasco, and acted accordingly. We know the rest. Where is Matt Walsh?

  6. Thanks for commenting Greg.

    Hey, I am a little ignorant regarding to Matt Walsh.

    Can either you or someone else fill us in? Thanks!

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