Monthly Archives: June 2017

Keys to the Super Bowl: Offensive Line Coach Mike Munchak


Peter Diana, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As you can probably ascertain, I’m inaugurating a new series in which we** examine what we believe to be key elements in the team’s hope of playing next year in February. I’ve chosen Mike Munchak to start for various reasons, but mainly because it seems pretty clear that a healthy Ben Roethlisberger is going to be one of the primary components in making it to Minneapolis. And an awesome offensive line is one of the primary components of a healthy Ben Roethlisberger.

I have already written about Mike Munchak, but it has been almost two years. And that article, although it did go into the improvement in the o-line during Munchak’s tenure, was really more a comparison of his and Keith Butler’s coaching styles. This time I’m going to focus on Munchak. Read more

Meet the New Steeler: Keion Adams


Jerome Miron, USA Today Sports

It isn’t that easy to get back in the saddle again after an extended break. As I mentioned in my note at the end of Ivan’s last article, I’ve been running around Europe lately, playing with my grandchildren and playing recitals. The former is a lot easier than the latter, which involves endless negotiations for rehearsal time, how loudly you can play while the tourists are filing past to look at Shakespeare’s grave, and so on.

But I’m back in the Burgh, and it’s time to look more closely at some of the new Steelers. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I went to and had a quick look around. They had pictures of the whole roster, and the first picture up was this year’s seventh-round pick, Keion Adams. This seemed like a sign, rather like when you close your eyes, put your finger on a random Bible verse, and discover that you need to take your car in for its annual inspection. (At least that’s how I interpreted Joshua 6:27—”Joshua’s triumph was heard throughout the land.” Obviously it needed work…) As Homer would say, “I’ll be here all week. Be sure to try the chicken…” Read more

Congratulations – Pittsburgh Has Already Won



by Ivan Cole

Usually, my writing is directed to Steeler Nation as a whole, but there is at least one way that the community can be partitioned. There are Pittsburgh fans, and then there are Steelers fans. The common denominator for these two groups is the allegiance and devotion to the Steelers.

Pittsburgh fans are most commonly natives, emigres and expats who are committed to the totality of the Pittsburgh sports culture. Beyond the football team, Steelers fans may be more eclectic, with loyalties that reflect the diversity of their backgrounds. It is a principle desire of a sports fan to realize a championship experience. Indeed, one of the key reasons for the existence of such a robust base of Steelers fans who are not tethered to geographic loyalty. This is based upon the past satisfaction of that desire, (Pittsburgh fans will stick with the team regardless of performance) and a reasonable expectation that it will be fulfilled again. Read more

Meet the New Steeler: CB Brandon Dixon


Kim Klement, USA Today Sports

If someone asked you about the a Steeler who was raised in South Florida and whose identical twin also plays in the NFL for a southern team, you would undoubtedly assume they were talking about Maurkice Pouncey. You might then be confused if the person says “No, I’m pretty sure the guy I mean plays defense.”

And that would be because this hypothetical person would be thinking of a much more recent addition to the Steelers than Maurkice—and for that matter a much more unheralded one. In short, s/he would be referring to Brandon Dixon.

Dixon was drafted in the sixth round in 2014 by the Jets. His brother Brian, also a cornerback, was signed as a UDFA by the Saints. Brandon, the older twin (by five minutes or so) and, according to his brother, the more serious one, was also the more successful of the two at the high school and college level, but Brian was the one who actually earned a roster spot on an NFL team first. He played for most of two seasons with the Saints, was signed briefly by the Cardinals, and is now at Jacksonville. Read more

Knowing What We Don’t Know, Part 5: Coaching in the Fog of War


Kelly L. Cox, USA Today

By Ivan Cole

I once took over the head coaching duties of a girls basketball team that had been winless the previous year and guided them to an undefeated season and a state championship. This was accomplished despite my being saddled with a considerable set of handicaps.

I had solid experience coaching football, and had been a basketball assistant, but I had never played the game at an organized competitive level myself and had never led a team.

Some of the preparation and developmental principles are transferable across sports. This fact, along with deep study of great coaches such as John Wooden and Morgan Wooten, and being open to the insight of the other strong coaches I knew, helped. No team was better prepared than we were. Read more

The Catfish Conundrum: Just How Far Should Fan Loyalty Go?

B40ACB34-C913-4C4B-AA48-C76D3C1136E2-535-000001515E5420ACI really ought to be breathlessly writing about OTAs and how JuJu S-S is playing in the slot (big surprise) and how Senquez Golson is playing in the slot on the other side of the ball (also not much of a surprise, unless you consider it to be a surprise he’s on the field at all.) Or any of a number of things which probably don’t mean very much at this point, because it’s football in shorts.

And while football in shorts is better than no football, there’s still a lot of sorting out to happen before we even find out who takes the field at St. Vincent’s. So instead I’m going to write about something else. Read more