Hard Hat Award (Game #16, vs. Clev.)
Stillers RB Gary Russell is the winner of the weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
Russell probably flew under radar of most fans, but The Committee was quick to spot his tough-as-nails effort in the win over the hated Brownies. On offense, Russell rushed a modest 4 times for 21 yards, but it was 2 crucial short-yardage plays where Russ showed his mettle and grit. Late in the 1st half of a tight 7-0 ballgame, the Stillers faced a huge 3rd & 1 at the Clev 15. Ben Roth had just left the field on a stretcher, and the team fairly needed to punch this drive in before halftime. Russell was called upon, and he ruggedly rumbled up the gut for a healthy gain of 7 yards and the 1st down. In the 4Q, the Stillers faced a 1st & G at the Clev 3. This had been a bugaboo for much of the season, but Russell again came through, barging up RG for a TD to ice the game.
But it wasn�t only on offense where Russell showed his toughness and willingness to hit. He opened the game with a solid 25-yard KO return. He then put a good hit n� stop in KO coverage at the start of the 2H, stopping the returner at the 17. Late in the 3Q, he teamed with
Others receiving consideration by The Committee were Willie Parker, who had a strong, determined effort; Keyaron Fox, who had 2 good stop in KO coverage, Aaron Smith, who had a stout game; and center Justin Hartwig, who had a quietly effective game. It bears repeating that there is almost always -- if not always -- a strong correlation between the number of players in consideration for the Hard Hat, and if the team won or lost. Simply put, Hard Hat kind of football leads to victory; pansy football (a term used here long before Troy Pola popularized it) leads to defeat.
Kudos to Russell for winning the Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly,
Previous 2008 Hard Hat Winners:
Week 1, vs.
Week 2, @ Clev: Keyaron Fox and Jamie Harrison
Week 3, @ Phil:
Week 4, vs. Balt: Jamie Harrison and LeMarr Woodley
Week 5, @ Jax: Ben Roethlisberger
Week 6, @ Cinci: Mewelde Moore
Week 7, vs. NY Giants: Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel
Week 8, @ Skins: Byron Leftwich and Jared Retkofsky
Week 9, vs. Colts: Jamie Harrison
Week 10, vs. Chargers: Jamie Harrison and Gary Russell
Week 11, vs. Bengals: Aaron Smith
Week 12, @ NE Pats: Jamie Harrison
Week 13, vs.
Week 14, @ Ravens: Hines Ward
Week 14, @ Titans: No one