Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has now delivered his 2012 recap interview and in doing so Pittsburgh's disappointing 8-8 season has concluded.
2012 was the season many Steelers fans were pointing to as a pivotal year for the organisation. With ageing superstars on both the offence and defence success in 2012 was vital, Now that the 2012 season is in the books we can see that the reason the team didn't live up to expectations was down to a few telling factors.
The strength of the Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers over the past 6 seasons has been consistency. Tomlin was fortunate to inherit such a deep and well-established team when Bill Cowher resigned after 15 years at the helm of the Steelers organisation in 2006. The team and staff that Cowher assembled had a massive influence on the success that Tomlin experienced during his first few seasons in Pittsburgh.
The Steeler mentality has always been to avoid splash investments in free agency and to draft smart! This method has lead the Steelers to great success in the past. But in the last couple of seasons the thing the team has always been revered for has started to regress, that being the organisation's ability to assess talent and draft quality players. In the past three seasons the Steelers have drafted Markuice Pouncey, Cam Heyward and David DeCastro with there three first round picks. The teams second round picks Jason Worlids, Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams. Excluding perennial all-pro centre Pouncey, the rest of the Steelers early draft picks over the past three seasons have all failed to live up to their early draft billing.
Poor draft classes are not the only significant factor why the Steelers under-achieved in 2012. Injuries, bad luck and poor conditioning are all reasons circulating at the moment trying to determine a defining reason why Tomlin's Steelers finished with a dismal .500 record. In my opinion injuries were a factor, But more importantly a lack of adequate replacements in significant skill positions was far more telling.
Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder injury in week 10 against the Kansas City Chiefs was the beginning of the down-fall of the Steelers 2012 campaign. The Steelers left the Chiefs game with an impressive 6-3 record, the following three weeks saw them drop two of three games in the absence of Big Ben. Back-up QB's Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch were both called upon during the stretch to lead the Steelers and both failed shockingly. Showing a definite weakness in the set-up of Mike Tomlin's Pittsburgh Steelers. Many Steelers fans like myself, were left rather dumbfounded by the Steelers total and utter lack of a contingency plan behind our starting quarter-back?
Todd Haley, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin, Poor drafting and the running game have all be used as scape-goats for the Steelers 2012 campaign collapse. Honestly, all played a massive part in why the Steelers did not find success in 2012. With the 2013 season now fully on the mind of all Steelers players, coaches and fans alike, The 2012 season can now be used and examined to make sure that the nest season's Pittsburgh Steelers do not suffer the same offencive frailties and personnel mishaps that hampered the progress of the 2012 version.
Onwards and upwards in 2013, beginning Thursday April 25th at the 2013 NFL draft.
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Thursday, 6 December 2012
This year, 2012 marks a personal NFL milestone for me. This year 10 years ago I begun watching American Football at the mere age of just 10 years old. Looking back now, 10 years on I could not imagine my existence without the ups and downs of the National Football League.
I am now 20 years old and consider myself more than just your "average, run-of-the-mill, everyday fan." Unlike most NFL Fans living in the US of A being an avid follower of the wonderful sport we know as gridiron is much harder for me than most. See I live in New Zealand a country far removed from the bright lights of the game I love. On an average week in New Zealand our ESPN coverage shows Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and of course the holy grail Monday Night Football! but for a football nut like myself... that really does not satisfy my hunger for the game! So I have had to find alternatives to quench my thirst for the game. That alternative ended up being NFLGamePass, during football season GamePass is my connection to the NFL world! allowing me to watch every NFL game live. It does not come cheap but well worth the high price tag.
The first game I ever watched was December 7th, 2003. Four days after my 10th birthday. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Oakland Raiders that day 27-7 I remember the day and that very match vividly. As from that day on I knew that the Pittsburgh Steelers were the team for me. That season the Steelers finished with a disappointing 6-10 record but to me the season was possibly the most memorable I have had in a decade of following the black and gold. Time after time i have been asked over the past decade why the Pittsburgh Steelers? why not the Patriots? Colts? Raiders? Giants? or Cowboys? and I always answer in the same way... They are not the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If someone would ask me why I support the Pittsburgh Steelers. I'd answer, The coaches! Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin, Dick LeBeau. The pride and passion both players and coaches have when representing the Steeler legacy. The ability to mould and develop stud players through the draft and above all else the history the Steeler organisation has made and fought to develop, that has led into the powerhouse team we know today.
For 10 years now I have been there for every high and every low the Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced, Many great names have come and gone in the last decade. I feel proud to say I witnessed some true football greats at the peak of their illustrious careers. Names like Joey Porter, Aaron Smith, Hines Ward, Willie Parker and James Farrior may no longer don the the Black and Gold of Pittsburgh but all of them in there own way helped strengthen my love for the Steelers.
Like them, despise them... however you feel about the Pittsburgh Steelers you respect them.
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Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Belgian players have long been apart of the top tiers of English Football, But not until quite recently have the number of players playing in England skyrocketed! Great names such as Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Jan Vertonghen, Moussa Dembele, Thomas Vermaelen and even Belgian Captain Vincent Kompany currently call England home.
The current crop of Belgian players in the EPL are by far the best the English game has ever experienced, The youth and potential of the bunch could not only lead the club game to a higher level but also could spell a new chapter in Belgian international football. With young stars with the pure ability and pedigree of the likes of Hazard, Kompany and Dembele the future looks extremely bright.
The current list of Belguin players in the Premier League are:
- Christian Benteke, Aston Villa Age: 21
- Moussa Dembele, Tottenham Age: 25
- Marouane Fellaini, Everton Age: 24
- Eden Hazard, Chelsea Age: 21
- Vincent Kompany, Man City Age: 26
- Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea/WBA Age:19
- Simon Mignolet, Sunderland Age: 24
- Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal Age: 26
- Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham Age: 25
Everyone of the list above has played internationally for Belgium and all are huge components of their clubs plans going forward. Kompany and Vermaelen are mainstays in both the Manchester City and Arsenal defences respectively, And Tottenham are hoping that over time they can groom Vertonghen into that same mould. Simon Mignolet the long time back-up to Scottish number one Craig Gordon, has seemingly made the Black Cats number one shirt his own with Gordon's departure to Southampton.
Lukaku has been touted for years as a raising star but unable to break into a jam packed Chelsea line-up the 19 year old is on a season long loan at West Brom and the change in scenery seems to have done wonders for him. Bentake the newest of the Belguin fleet to arrive on English shores secured a 7 million pound move to Aston Villa from K.R.C Genk on transfer deadline day and he himself has hailed the move to the English Premier League as "A dream come true".
Marouane Fellaini a relative veteran for the EPL now, as incredibly this is the actually man with the "Fro's" fifth season at Everton. And by the way he's been playing already in season 2012-13 this could very well be the breakout year that David Moyes has been forecasting for some time now. Still only 24 one has to assume that Fellaini's best years are still in front of him.
Moussa Dembele was the second Belgian acquisition made by Andre Villas-Boas this off-season. The magical Belgium playmaker is already being touted by many in North London as a perfect replacement for Luka Modric. Not a newcomer to the Premier League after spending the past three seasons with Martin Jol at Fulham. Time will tell if Dembele can replace the creativity and attacking prowess of Modric.
And then of course who many believe to be the 'pick of the bunch', the 'cream of the crop' Eden Hazard the 21 year old dynamo that has already set Ligue1 alight in France with his 36 goals in 147 appearances from midfield for Lille. With seemingly every team with sizable back pockets looking to lure Eden to play for them over the summer, In the end it was Chelsea that managed to snatch the future star for a reported fee in the region of 32 Million Pounds. Too much some said? Hazard wont be able to handle the pace of the English game some said, Overrated and untested others said. Time will tell, but from what he has produced so far in the Blue of Chelsea I'd say hes gone along way already in prove his doubters wrong.
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