Extreme Makeover: 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Edition


I’m sure in one way or another most people are familiar with the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  A family in major despair through some family tragedy of loss or circumstance is rewarded a dream home in order to improve their lives in a major way.  Ty Pennington and Co. swoop in and save the day.

Well in our edition of Extreme Makeover, the citizens of Steelers Nation are the family in major despair and the off-the-field antics by the Pittsburgh Steelers is the tragedy….

Since the off season of 2009, Steelers Nation has had to deal with some pretty ridiculous off the field crap from their football players.  Big Ben’s initial sexual misconduct, to Santonio Holmes’ drugs and threats, to Ben’s second sexual misconduct, to Charlie Batch’s bankruptcy, to Rashard Mendenhall’s misguided Osama Bin Laden tweets, to Hines Ward’s DUI to now James Harrison’s crude and inappropriate rants about Goodell and teammates.

Prior to even just 2010, while teams like the Ravens, Bengals, Cowboys and Falcons dealt with players like Ray Lewis, Ocho, Pacman Jones and Michael Vick, Steelers Nation could stand proud and say with a straight face ‘Not in my house.’  Very quickly, however, the house that Rooney built – a house purportedly full of proud, classy and outstanding young men – has gone to shambles faster than a house condemned in foreclosure.  The classless misfit like behavior is like taking a drive through Baldwin Courts in suburbia Pittsburgh.  These aren’t just any players either – they are some of the heart and soul of this team.  The foundation within Heinz Filed  is quickly deteriorating and appears destined to float its way down the Ohio River – where even Bungles fans in Cincinnati can have the right to point and laugh at the garbage passing by.

Where did this team start to go wrong?  I would have thought that after Holmes was traded back in 2010 for his off the field antics it would send a wave of warning through the rest of the organization.  Screw up like that and you are out – even if you are last year’s Super Bowl MVP.  Could it be that the Steelers organization set themselves up for disaster by keeping Big Ben after allegation #2?

Or is the lockout to blame?  The organization has not been able to contact players all off season long.  Perhaps if there wasn’t a lockout in place the Steelers could have had a team meeting after Mendenhall’s controversial tweets and stemmed the whole thing.  But now after those tweets, a DUI and a foul mouthed anti-gay middle finger to the NFL and teammates, the Steelers are up shit creek, and James Harrison has broken all the paddles over his knee.  Mike Tomlin is secretly huddled in a corner sucking his thumb and crying.  All this guy cares about is playing football and winning football games.  He has been stellar in keeping egos in check during the season to win football games.  This has got to be his version of Twilight Zone’s ‘Time Enough at Last’ – and his own players have stomped on his glasses.

So once this lockout is over, what will the Steelers organization do?  The NFL probably won’t do anything to Mendenhall, they might fine fist time offender Ward (who may serve time in jail if convicted), and without a doubt they will fine and possibly suspend Harrison for his remarks about Goodell.  But what should the Steelers do?  Should the Steelers perform their own Extreme Makeover and rebuild the parts that are falling apart?  A classy organization full of champions is our dream home – and it’s being taken away.

Who becomes the example made in our trio of boneheads?  Is it Ward for violating personal conduct rules?  Or is it Harrison who leaped over a line – if not for what he said about Goodell but for what he said about his teammates?  And, I don’t care what fellow players think about Harrison’s comments about Big Ben and Mendy.  Of course they are going to shrug it off.  I want to know what the coaches and FO think about it.  And, I want to know what they are going to do about it.

Steelers Nation is reeling right now.  Four star starters from their team have gotten into hot water in the past three years.  I don’t want any of these guys to leave because they are all fantastic athletes and football players.  But right now the Big ‘D’ in Pittsburgh is standing for something other than defense.  The Steelers were supposed to be developing into a dynasty of champions, not a dynasty of jaggoffs. It pisses me off that I now have to listen to other fans from teams in the league, especially the AFC North, rightfully call out the Steelers.  We’ve preached high atop the ‘Classy Mountain,’ and we are now tumbling uncontrollably to the bottom.  I’m not asking for heads to roll, but something must be done.  July 21st can’t come quickly enough so that the FO can’t finally grab the leash and reel back control.  They need do something about this house of cards.  So the big question is:

What will happen when the lockout is over and it’s time for fans to yell ‘Move that bus!’?