After a tepid 8 – 8 campaign Pittsburgh may suffer yet another lukewarm season should they struggle to stay on the same page in regards to new athletes, a sophomore Offensive scheme, or Football Gods Forbid, the dreaded injuries which helped derail a team searching for identity in 2012. Should Pittsburgh fans endure further decline (and/or higher draft pick in 2014) which team will captain the physical AFC North throughout the 2013 season? We can safely remove Cleveland from the conversation right now, the Browns may never see light outside of the basement and I fear they have spent so much time eating spiders the psyche of Cleveland’s fan base has become comparable to Gollum. I don’t know which floundering franchise I feel the most pity for: Oakland, Jacksonville, Dallas, or Cleveland? With the exception of Jacksonville you have three once proud and storied organizations that have been pitifully ground down and slowly ruined via mismanagement. Sad.
I digress. Cleveland is out. In 2013 I predict Baltimore overwhelmed by Muscle Milk and Antler Spray endorsements will have lost their thirst and mail in a banal 9 – 7 season. Pittsburgh could very well bear another season like last and again find themselves at number 3. So this writer’s bold prediction is Cincinnati hoists the AFC North crown in 2013. If James Harrison can stay healthy and avoid penalties the man is a tornado with a little gas left in the tank who compliments an already savage front seven. The Bengal offense is young and on the rise and with first round addition Tyler Eiffert of Notre Dame they become even more of a threat. This could be the perfect year for them to shrug off the Bungles moniker and make it known they are here to play football.
As a member of the Black & Gold 365 Faithful I can live with another down season so long as there are lessons learned from losses and a rise in hunger to take it all the following year. In football as in life you experience ebb and flow, it is a game won by inches and seconds, sometimes you get a good bounce and sometimes you don’t. The mark of a good franchise is how they endure the down time and how they rise from the ashes, how they persevere, how they traverse the rocky unforgiving path to greatness. So far the Steelers have proved their resilience and I believe they continue to do so down the stretch. Go Steelers.
John Thomas Menesini