Morning Links (and Daily Thread)…

A quick daily look at what’s happening around Steelers Nation. And consider this your open thread for discussing the days events and, well, anything else that comes to mind about the Black and Gold.

– NFL Network showed a replay of last year’s Steelers-Packers game on Monday night, and in case you forgot, that game was complete madness. Over 70 points, nearly 1,000 yards of offense, no turnovers, Mike Tomlin kicking an onside kick in the fourth quarter with the lead, Mike Wallace scoring the game-winning touchdown as time expires. One thing I’ll point out: This year’s Steelers team is significantly better and deeper. How much so? During last year’s game Tyler Grisham, Tyrone Carter and Joe Burnett were seeing playing time. Tyler Grisham.

– We already knew the Black Eyed Peas were doing the Super Bowl halftime show, and now we know who is singing the National Anthem: Pittsburgh’s own Christina Aguilera. Well isn’t that something. Christina Aguilera and Fergie in the same place at the same time? The chances for a “wardrobe malfunction” are through the damn roof. [ESPN]

– Five long thoughts on the AFC Championship Game. [Mondesi's House]

– A statistical look at the Steelers defense. [Behind The Steel Curtain]

– Last week Peter King wrote that Rashard Mendenhall is not a big-time back. You knew after that performance on Sunday that King would hear about it. [One For The Other Thumb]

– And for your random YouTube of the day: Mike Wallace game-winning touchdown catch against the Green Bay Packers…

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  • Randy Steele

    Here’s a tidbit from Ed Brouchette’s PG-Plus blog that’s too juicy not to spread:

    If the Steelers win this Super Bowl, Limas Sweed will have two Super Bowl rings.

  • Cols714

    I see that DJ is fighting the good fight over at FO after Barnwell called Ben’s perfomance awful and said that Ben was the only reason that the Jets were in the game.

    I don’t get those guys. Just because announcers praise someone who may not have had a great game, doesn’t mean they have to go in the complete opposite direction. Ben’s stats were pretty bad and he was a bit off all game, but he was pretty effective running the ball and made some great throws when he had to.

    Just because someone doesn’t fit into whatever statistical framework you are working in doesn’t mean that player sucks or is overrated.

    • RoB D

      I thought Ben played a pretty good game overall. Some of his high throws are deliberate..he sees the underneath coverage and puts the ball where only his guy can catch it. He wasn’t accurate enough to complete those and that’s on him. And possibly the frigid conditions.

      The story of this game was we could run the football and did so. Ben made the clutch throws when he had to. The 2nd half turned into kitty bar the door and I guess they were supposed to sling the ball in all directions to keep the stat nerds at FO happy.

      They are a valuable resource but they can get caught up in numbers and look like fools just as much as Peter King gets caught up in personalities and makes himself look foolish. TAke all of it with a grain of salt.

      • countertorque

        I am surprised that more people aren’t talking about the weather as a factor in the passing game. I saw a number of balls that bounced off of players’ hands on both teams.

        • GlennW

          There might have been something to the weather aspect, but I don’t know how much. There was very little wind for one thing. I just thought that Ben was off on the longer stuff which had nothing to do with receivers’ hands. The Heath Miller challenged catch/drop should have been an easy TD as Heath was wide, wide open but Ben babied the throw a bit and put too much air under it. He also underthrew Wallace early on when Wallace was one full step behind Revis (Revis probably should have intercepted that underthrow), and the INT in the second half was also a potential completion or at least a relatively safe pass except that the ball was both underthrown and directed way too far towards the coverage in the middle of the field. Perhaps the cold was a factor with Ben’s grip on the ball, but the conditions really weren’t that bad imo (I was completely comfortable in the stands, basically because of the absence of a breeze of any significance– wind is always the killer).

    • GlennW

      I thought that Ben played a decidedly mediocre game– not “awful”– with a few big plays mixed in, which on top of the great rushing attack and stellar defense (our true keys to victory) was just enough to win the game. I’m also confident that if we hadn’t gotten that kind of output from Mendenhall, the offense would have opened it up and Ben would have put up more productive numbers. That’s just the way this team works. But against a very tough secondary that had just flummoxed the league MVP Tom Brady (in spite of his prettier garbage-time numbers), Ben only had to drop back to pass the ball ~20 times, which is probably a good thing.

  • John S.

    Any one have insight on how to get a set of tickets for less than $2,000 a piece? A friend and I live close to Dallas and were hoping to find something in the $1,500 range with no luck so far.

  • Bob Costas

    What’s a Fergie?

  • GlennW

    As I predicted, this week Peter King forgot all about his harsh comments on Mendenhall (or at least he didn’t acknowledge them). But he did name Mendy his Offensive Player of the Week…

  • BlackAndGold

    Saw it mentioned the other day that this is a great time in the history of the Steelers franchise, but is this the golden era of Pittsburgh sports in general? I wasn’t around in the 70′s, which were obviously great, but in the past six years Pittsburgh’s been in Three Super Bowls, Two Stanley Cup Finals and every year has one of the top college basketball programs in the country. The Penguins are a championship contender again and Pitt is in the top-five. Pretty awesome.

  • SteelerBill

    John….the cheapest I saw tix was $2500

    • John S.

      I’ve been keeping an eye on ebay. I’ve seen a number of pairs go for around $4200. It’d be nice if that would come down a bit, but I doubt that will happen.

  • Anonymous

    Why would you cite Wes Welker mk. II as an example of lack of depth?