September 9, 2008

A Little Perspective...


Ok, listen, I'm just as psyched as all of you about the prospect that we could run through our AFC competition as easily as Mike Tomlin could grow a sick afro. But as I mentioned in the comments yesterday, 'twas only Week One...for everyone.

Yes, Tom Brady is out for the season. Yes, Peyton Manning looked rusty and out of shape. Yes, the Jaguars are now without BOTH of their starting Guards. Yes, Vince Young is out for potentially a month (his feelings are hurt). And yes, the Chargers Defense didn't exactly impress. But one week does not a season make. We still have 15 weeks of hard fought games to play...and lest I dredge up sore memories - we did lose to Arizona and the Jets last season after opening the year 3-0.

That said, I'd like to talk about a sunnier memory today.

Remember the 2005-2006 season? The one in which the Steelers finally got that one for the thumb? Of course you do. But do you remember how we got there?

That's why I'd like to take you on a little trip over the next few days, through this most exciting of seasons. Today, we'll do Part I - Weeks 1 through 6. Tomorrow, Weeks 7 through 11 and on Thursday, Weeks 12 through 17. I'm not going to even mention the playoffs, because listen, we all remember how that went. If you don't, I suggest you surrender your Terrible Towel (if you even own one, Browns fan) and move to Canada.

Now, let's warp back in time to September 11, 2005...

The Steelers opened the season decisively, winning 34-7 against the Tennessee Titans and 27-7 against none other than our most recent kill, the Houston Texans. Willie Parker lit up both teams for 161 yards and 111 yards respectively. Big Ben threw two TDs in each contest. And the Defense registered 11 sacks along with 2 INTs and 3 fumble recoveries.

Then, we faced The Evil Empire. The team that had kept us from the Super Bowl the year before and had the only coach in the league that could rival Brian Billick for smuggest asshole (coincidentally they share more than just smugness...they share initials). We lost that game in heartbreaking fashion, 23-20 when Adam "I'm only good when Cotter doesn't pick me in fantasy" Vinatieri nailed a 43 yard field goal with just one second left on the clock. Which was awesome...[Editor's Correction: This used to say, "Luckily, this wouldn't be the last time we saw them that season." But as a commenter highlighted, I misspoke. Hence, correction. Done]

Week 4 we watched from our respective recliners/barstools as other teams around the league beat each other up. Jeff Reed got sloshed and won the mechanical bull riding competition at Saddle Ridge, and the ASPCA removed all Mini Horses from Joey Porter's premises. Actually, neither of those happened. I just made them up.

Anyways, Week 5 brought the San Diego Superchargers, complete with Ladanian Tomlinson and Drew Brees for a Monday night showdown. We barely scraped by, 24-22, on a Jeff Reed 40 yarder with six seconds remaining, but the win didn't come without a price. On the final play before the ultimate game winner, San Diego's Luis Castillo rolled up on Big Ben's knee, in a move that looked kind of like what Kemo Von Oelhoffen eventually did to Carson Palmer in the AFC Wild Card game. Our leader was helped off the field, limping.

Thus paving the way for the Tommy Maddox reign of terror.

Maddox, 2003's asshole (who thankfully screwed up that season royally enough for us to nab Big Ben in the '04 draft), then orchestrated a total dismantling of what seemed like a legitimately winnable game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Jagoffs. Maddox threw two picks on the first two Steelers drives, but we were somehow able to get the game into OT, notwithstanding the fact that we looked like complete dogshit (and by, "we," I mean Tommy Maddox). Once in OT, Maddox continued to play like he had money on the Jags, fumbling a snap on the first drive. Then, as an encore he gave us a fitting end to the game, throwing a pick six to Reshean Mathis (yes, THAT Reshean Mathis) on the first play of the next series. And we all crept home like we had just had sex with the most foul beast at Heinz Field (no, not Silky Johnson's sister). A 23-16 loss at the hands of the Jagoffs Tommy [redacted] Maddox, and like that, we were 3-2 with Big Ben still questionable.

Thus concludes the first part of my 2005 season rewind. To hear my recount of the next five games, against the Bengals, Ravens (X2), Packers, and Colts games, make sure you come back for Part II tomorrow.

For now, I ask you all - Do you remember these games? Do you remember how you felt about the season at that point? And of course, do you see where I'm going with all of this? Feel free NOT to point out how big of an asshole I am...or don't.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember each game vividly. I dont understand why you said "it wasnt the last time we would see them" when you mentioned the Patriots? We didnt play them that year again. They lost in the playoffs before we had the chance to crush them.

Get Fresh Designs said...

yeah, i remember those games and I have learned my lesson over the years to discount/praise teams in the first few weeks of the season. yeah, there's nothing wrong with enjoying the win, but there are 15 games left. You can start talking some real shit between Weeks 9-12, because that's when the teams start to separate, even then that's iffy.

Cotter said...

anon ~ Wow, you're so right! Ugh, I gotta start getting more sleep before I write these things...

doug ~ You said it, man. Hopefully my excitement about our recent win and potentially fruitful season was not lost in all my talk about temperance. But still...

notgomu said...

I HATED Tommy Maddox. I used to pray for him to get hurt, so they would put someone else in. ANYONE else in. When Ben went down, that was a gut wrenching time in the season. But I had faith f they could get him back in time, they would make the playoffs, I'm not sure I believed they'd win the Superbowl..... But who did?

matt said...

The Jags game of '05 was one of the worst birthdays of my life.

I like your views on this season Cotter - let's just take one week at a time & hope ESPN starts to ignore us like they usually do.

matt said...

The Jags game of '05 was one of the worst birthdays of my life.

I like your views on this season Cotter - let's just take one week at a time & hope ESPN starts to ignore us like they usually do.

matt said...

I'm retarded...double clicked on publish comment.

domski43 said...

can someone speed this week up? cant wait for the browns game!!

good work cotter! its fun to look back at that season, otherwise known as the best year of my life.

maybe the pats will pick up tommy maddox?

Anonymous said...

No problem on that Patriot comment Cotter. Your columns are always great! I agree, lets not start talking Super Bowl yet. It was one game but they did take care of business. I am a bit worried about some "home-cooking" for the Browns this weekend. The entire NFL seems to think they will win the North. Lets hope they dont get any "breaks" being at home.2005 seems like it was soo long ago, but I remember EVERY game that year. Helps that I have most of them taped. By the way, I was one fan that DID NOT hate Tommy Maddox. Thanks to him we saw the dismissal of Kordell Stewart, a great and exciting 2002 season, and eventually he helped opened the door for BIG BEN!

Cotter said...

notgomu ~ I take it they've permanently unblocked OFTOT for you at work? They must know it's Steelers season! Anyways, I certainly was skeptic about our chances of even making the playoffs when Ben went down. But like most Steelers fans, I remember thinking, "there's still a chance." It's never over until it's over.

matt ~ Ugh, sorry to hear your bday was filled with Tommy Maddox interceptions and lost fumbles. That's a shitty gift. But hey, at least the rest of the team made up for it in Super Bowl XL. Thanks for the kind words! Definitely just have to take things as they come. Who knows what can happen over the course of 17 weeks, right?

domski ~ Chris Simms or Tommy Maddox? (for the rest of you, this is an inside joke - when Domski and I were in Tampa last April, some Bucs fans tried to tell us Chris Simms was better than Big Ben...smart logic, right?)

anon ~ You're not related to Tommy Maddox, are you? Just kidding. For all the ribbing he takes here on OFTOT, you're right - his time wasn't a complete waste. As for the Browns this weekend, I can't wait! Let the media talk all they want. Winning the division isn't something that's going to happen this week or next week. We'll just do what we always do. Worry about US and OUR next game. It's the only way to go...and it's the Tomlin way. Thanks again for your comments!!