Steelers poised to make Superbowl run, thanks to Ray Rice
The Pittsburgh Steelers may be only 6-5 entering this weeks game against rival Baltimore, but it’s not unfamiliar territory for the six-time Superbowl champs. In 2005 the Steelers were 7-5 after three straight losses and rallied together to win out the remainder of the season and eventually go on to win the Superbowl. There is one more situation that is becoming eerily connected with Steelers Superbowl victories, this time around it involves Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice.
Go back to 2005 when TJ Houshmanzadeh “shined” his shoes with the Steelers Terrible Towel after the Bengals beat the Steelers by seven points in Week 12. Lendale White and Keith Bullock of the Tennessee Titans stomped on a Terrible Towel after defeating the Steelers during the regular season in 2008. Both times the Towel was disrespected by an opposing player the Steelers went on to win that years Superbowl (XL and XLIII; and wouldn’t you know it someones at it again. Ray Rice, after the Ravens defeated the Steelers two weeks ago traded a fan his game used gloves for a Terrible Towel which he waved and then draped over his head on his way off the field. This story has received national attention especially after Lamarr Woodley tweeted “If you’re not a Steelers fan, don’t put your hands on a terrible towel.” and “Bad idea Ray, just ask Lendale and TJ whosyourmama.” If history repeats itself then Steelers fans should gear up for a crazy ride ending in a Superbowl victory in New Orleans.
Other factors besides superstitions which are in favor of the Steelers include the return of injured players who have missed most of the season. The biggest of these is S Troy Polamalu. The Steelers top defensive player has missed all but two games with a serious calf injury. Defensive Coordinator Dick Lebeau said Troy will play Sunday against the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger continues to rehab from his shoulder and rib injury and was able to throw this week, but is still ruled out for Sunday’s game. However if the Pittsburgh Steelers are able to field a healthy team entering the playoffs, assuming they make it, no one is going to want to play a team with this kind of fire-power.
The Steelers defense is yet again ranked No. 1 in NFL. The running game seems to be coming together as head coach Mike Tomlin finally decided on a starter in 2nd year man Jonathan Dwyer. Antonio Brown will return to action this week and once Big Ben is back from injury look out!
In the end however, the Steelers have quite the workload ahead of them if they expect to win the Superbowl, much less make the playoffs, with tough games against Baltimore, Dallas, and Cincinnati upcoming. But does it all even matter after Ray Rice’s recent antics? Did Ray already seal the fate for the Steelers? Only time will tell, starting this Sunday in enemy territory Baltimore.
Zachary Helbling is an NFL team writer for TPF and can be contacted at ZHelbling@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com