Author Archives: roxannafirehall

The Good Guys: You Don’t Know Jack.

imageWhen it comes to my football heroes, I’m decidedly old school. The Good Guys series continues with my favorite player of all time — Jack Lambert.

Jack Lambert is not a typical Good Guy. He’s actually not a typical anything. He’s profane and a grouch. He’s certainly not a smiler like Hines or AB. Not a quiet man like Troy or Heath. He doesn’t attend all the Steelers’ events. He does not suffer fools gladly.

But Jack is authentic, honest. What you see is what you get. He was perhaps the greatest linebacker ever to play the game, certainly in the top five. As a teammate, he drove the defense and played every play with ultimate effort. He was obsessively focused on winning, never allowing his teammates any room to play with less than full intensity.

You didn’t mess with the Steelers or you dealt with Jack. Ask the Cowboys’ Cliff Harris, who taunted placekicker Roy Gerela in Super Bowl X. After Gerela pulled a 33 yard attempt, Harris tapped him on the side of the helmet and said “Way to go.” Lambert grabbed Harris by the helmet and pads and flung him to the ground.  Classic Lambert.

When it comes to hard-nose, smack ’em in the mouth defensive football, he is the gold standard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of players I admire for what they do on the field and off, but watching No. 58 bury a ball carrier or sack a quarterback was the ultimate thrill. Read more

My Two Cents.

imageFinally, some real Steeler news with the advent of the free agent signing period. The worst part of the silly season is over, at least until the draft is over . . . .

My favorite signing so far is the three year contract for “Big Play” Willie Gay. Aside from being the team’s most consistent cornerback, he is as mentally tough as any player on the roster.

Once the favorite whipping boy of more critical fans. Gay not only survived the torrent of catcalls for his ouster, he has improved to the point where keeping him was critical to the continued improvement of the secondary. Ike Taylor might have had a lot to do with Willie’s mental toughness. . . .

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World Without Ben . . . Amen.

imageOn September 27, 2015, I was in the fourth row, behind the Steeler bench when Ben Roethlisberger was all but carried off the field in St. Louis. From my vantage point, I coud see Ben clearly. His expression showed strong emotions. Pain. Fear. Disappointment.

Undoubtedly, Ben feared the worst; we all did.  Rams’ safety Mark Barron had rolled up on Ben’s knee. It looked bad, real bad. I feared that Big Ben’s ACL was torn and he would be lost for the season. I still see that image in my mind’s eye.

Thankfully, perhaps miraculously, Ben missed only four games due to that injury. Nevertheless, I am haunted by that grim scene.

Last Wednesday, Benny turned 34. While his career is certainly not over, the sun is setting. His days as the engine that drives the Steeler offense are numbered. That scares me a bit. Read more

I Was Wrong. Again.

imageI’m not sure if this is a real article or just a long comment. I do think it explores the complicated relationship I have with professional football. My aim is to I contribute something to the important conversation  started by Momma’s article and commented on by several of our wise writers and regular commenters. 

Rebecca’s Friday article, Knowing” the Steelers – Fan Perceptions and Misconceptions was really a startlingly thought provoking piece. As I read her article and the comments, I immediately knew the issues were important and I wanted to consider and share them here at Going Deep.

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Ain’t No Sunshine: Heath Miller retires.

imageBill Wither’s mournful tune seems appropriate here. As our talented founder, Momma Rollett, said, we finally have news, but it’s not good. At best, Heath’s leaving is bittersweet.

When Little Darlin’ broke the news to me, I was surprised. I’ve got to think we all were. There were no rumors, murmurs or foreshadowing. Nobody dared whisper “Heath’s losing it,” mostly because it wasn’t true. While approaching the autumn of his career, Heath had yet to show any real significant erosion of skill, nor did his body begin to betray him.

Perhaps we could have seen it coming, if only because this exit is so very Heath-like. Three of the most used adjectives appearing in articles featuring this fine young man are nice, classy and humble. His retirement announcement was nice, classy and humble. Like Heath, it was quiet and reserved.

There was no victory lap. No hanging on until the front office had to tell him it was time to go. No serious injury forcing the inevitable choice. Heath walked away while he could. He’s still young and healthy at 33; seemingly with no regrets.

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Roxanna Firehall interviews Dan Rooney

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney gestures after his team beat the Arizona Cardinals to win the NFL's Super Bowl XLIII football game in Tampa, Florida, February 1, 2009. REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme (UNITED STATES)


Gadzooks, what a great headline. It didn’t happen, but what a great headline.

I blame Momma Rollett. (Little Darlin’ knows a little bit about getting blamed for my misguided forays).  Momma did her Hombre recycling thing last Wednesday and it gave me a crazy idea. What if I stumbled into an elevator and surprisingly, Dan Rooney was there and we were alone. . . But not for just ninety seconds.

So off I went, into my own reverie:

As fortune would have it, we rode three floors or so and the elevator froze up! Holy moly, stuck in an elevator with Dan Rooney. I reluctantly called for help—at Mr. Rooney’s insistence. The nice lady who answered told me help was on the way, but it would be at least an hour until we would be extricated. Wow. That’s what I thought. That’s probably not what Mr. Rooney was be thinking. But, wow!

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Roxanna Firehall’s Zombie Football Reader – Fat Tuesday edition.

imageFull credit for the “Zombie Football” part of the title goes to Ivan, as coined in his fine series about surviving the the off season, linked here.

The Super Bowl is over and we now enter the dark days of the year where “experts” both real and imagined (almost entirely imagined) make stuff up or just say stupid sh*t because they need to draw readers and there isn’t anything else to talk about.

While I was aware of this phenomena, Ivan induced me to pay closer attention and actually take notice, even before the Super Bowl, of the types of stories which start to appear in the long soulless void between now and training camp.

For your reading pleasure (scoff, scoff), I have assembled some of the more pungent examples for you. To render things a bit more palatable, I did discover a couple of good articles, while not all Steeler related, they were important articles which you might enjoy.

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