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Success in the NFL

December 20, 2001 by Steel Tank

Mid Week Observations

Mid Week Observations

This has been a strange year in the NFL and a number of teams seem to be big disappointments while others, like the Steelers, are huge surprises.Success or failure of any team shouldn�t be surprise once close inspection reveals the true nature of the NFL.Indeed, the line between winning and losing in the NFL is so slight, that even a few timely plays can make all the difference in the world.


The Tampa Bay Bucs � As soon as the Bucs signed the Messiah, Brad Johnston, the home of the world�s best strip bars beamed in excited anticipation of the coming season.Unfortunately, a QB is not all it takes to win - it takes a winning attitude as well.The Bucs have mired themselves in an offense that cannot put points on the board.Keyshawn is a great receiver � no doubt, but he is not complemented on the other side with speed or a deep threat.Nor has the Buc running game been too consistent behind and average O-line.Hence, their team is incomplete.Furthermore, looking at the Bucs schedule, who would have guessed that they would even be vying for a playoff spot?The Bucs have perhaps the nastiest schedule in the league � 2 with GB, 2 with Chicago and one with the Steelers and Rams.That�s six games against top 5 playoff teams not to mention the fact that they still must play New Orleans, Baltimore and Philly the remaining three games of the year.If Dungy can get this team to the playoffs, it will be nothing short of a miracle.


Indy Colts � The Colts have superior talent on offense, but their swoon started well before Edge was lost for the year.All it took was for one well-coached team in the New England Patriots to overwhelm the Colts and expose them to the rest of the league.This team has no defense and that fact has been exploited every game since week 3.The 5-8 Colts also suffer from a nasty schedule:2 games with Miami, 2 with New England and 2 with the Jets � that�s just the division schedule.What�s worse is having to play Oakland, Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco along the way with the Rams yet to come.How can a team with only one good unit � and especially the offensive unit, expect to compete in the NFL with this kind of schedule.It simply can�t be done.


Pittsburgh Steelers � The Steelers as we all know are a big surprise, but should they be? Recall that the Steelers set an NFL record for most consecutive quarters not to give up a TD last year.They did this with the Ravens looming large over the football landscape and so perhaps went a bit unnoticed by most.Then, the Steelers lost Kirkland in the off-season for cap reasons and all was thought to be lost.Well, in steps Kendrall Bell � the second LB chosen in the draft and a definite first round pick if LB was a needy position by just a few teams.As it turns out, the Steelers got Bell in the 2cnd round to go with Hampton in the first.Suddenly, what was a good defense last year was an awesome unit leading the league in defense this year.Furthermore, the simple addition of a QB coach and a new O-line coach has made this team one of the best if not the best in the NFL.Fans quickly overlook what Russ Grimm has done with the offensive line � what was thought to be a weakness, is among the Steelers� strong points and one of the best units in the NFL.Games the Steelers were losing in the waning moments last year are now cinched midway through the 4th quarter.There is not a huge difference between the two, but the Steelers now have what most teams do not � balance.


Success in the NFL hinges on a slight and unfriendly edge.It can be taken away by injury, chance and free agency just as quickly as it came. The Steelers must remain vigilant and must not take the fortunes they�ve had for granted.Success should be enjoyed while it can be, but it will not last � sometimes not for even an entire season.


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