U mad, bro?: Steelers fans get snippy over NFL ties, criticism of Mike Tomlin, Raiders-Chargers result

It’s playoff time for the Pittsburgh Steelers for “Are you crazy, brother?” Emotions are raw. Emails are pungent. Tweets are more controversial.

And errors in judgment cost more. Ask Brandon Staley.

Buckle up. This week is going to be a bumpy race.


In my Wednesday column, I wrote a light line about Mike Tomlin’s claim that he slept until the end of the decisive Chargers-Raiders playoff game on Sunday night.

Did you fall asleep during that game, Mike? I couldn’t fall asleep before 4am!

Richard DID NOT appreciate the attempt at humor.

Now there is the in-depth analysis that we’d expect. Are you serious?

Um no. In fact, I was not serious. At all. It was kind of a joke, honestly. It was a line about the trainer’s line.

It was a reference on a 1,000-word column discussing Tomlin’s comments about his comfort level in the Steelers’ ability to fight from behind in adverse situations. The article included several statistics, trends and opinions on whether or not Tomlin was right to feel this way.

In other words, what I’m really trying to say is: Relax, Francis.


This person was also a big fan of this column.

Nope. If my name was Skip Bayless, then this column would have been about the Dallas Cowboys.


This woman loved it too.

And my job is to give an opinion on what the coach says and / or does.

Hmm. Funny how you think I shouldn’t give an opinion on how Tomlin does his job… even though I get paid to do it.

Yet you will offer advice on how I should do my job … for free.

Weird how it works.


This guy on Twitter didn’t like the way Mark Madden and I analyzed the end of the Chargers-Raiders game and – by extension – how avoiding a tie helped the Steelers advance to the playoffs.

You may agree or disagree with Mark’s opinion that the Raiders’ placement at the end was an unnecessary risk in terms of their seed’s weighting (i.e. playing in Kansas City or at Cincinnati) with a win over the slim chance of the kick being blocked and returned for a touchdown.

Sure. Discuss it. And we can debate why coach Brandon Staley requested a time out for the Chargers.

But explain something to me, then. Why didn’t the Raiders throw the ball once in their last three tries to get into a better basket range if they were “playing to win” all the time, especially the two snaps before the timeout?

The reason is that they weren’t playing to win. They would take the win if she fell at their feet on a big run. What they got. But not at the risk of blowing the tie.

That’s exactly what they did by running all three downs. And that’s exactly what quarterback Derek Carr and Vegas coach Rich Bisaccia said after the game. Staley’s timeout changed their approach to what they were going to do.

I would say it wouldn’t matter because his Steelers have gone 0-3 against those two teams this year by a combined score of 101-30.

That’s what I would say during our cute little show.


Meanwhile, Robert doesn’t like ties at all.

My solution is to eliminate them. If after 60 minutes you haven’t won the game, then you have lost. If the match ends in a tie, both teams suffer a loss.

Well, that’s just ridiculous. Finishing with the same score as your opponent, like the Steelers did when tying the Lions 16-16, shouldn’t count as losing 41-10 like they did against the Bengals.

Plus, for the team that weren’t supposed to win – like Detroit in this example – why should they be penalized for playing above their usual performance? You’re just looking at it from the Steelers’ point of view, as they’ve tied a lousy team this year and would have enjoyed a tie if the Raiders and Chargers had suffered an additional loss.

But, please continue.

Of course, in the playoffs you play until someone scores. I would die suddenly, first to score victories. Let’s see the teams being bold and aggressive during the game. Opt for the victory in regulation. No solution will be perfect.

Okay, I agree with you. An occasional tie in the NFL has never bothered me in the past. But the prospect of playing against one to manipulate the playoff standings or qualifying made me change my mind.

I think the NFL should switch to a modified (harder for infractions and kickers) version of the college overtime format.


Here’s another one on a close tie from a Raiders fan named Sean.

Great convo on the Raiders helping Pitifulburg. As a Raiders fan, my reasoning goes in a different direction. Even though the Chargers are division opponents; you have to help your division represent, and somewhere down the line the Raiders are going to need the Chargers’ help, and now they might look back and say fuck you. That’s my opinion.

These aren’t college lectures, Sean. There is no benefit other than marginal bragging rights when it comes to getting multiple teams in the playoffs so the division can “represent”.

Of course, the Chargers are going to be ticked off because the Raiders didn’t accept the tie. But the Steelers would have been more ticked off if the Raiders had attempted a tie.

Due to the programming formula, they will face each other next year. Maybe the Raiders can ask Mason Rudolph to kneel down if their game is close as a thank you.

Pfff! Who am I kidding? I forgot. Carr will be the Steelers quarterback next year here in “Pitifulburg”. I’m stupid.


Finally, this one is the coup de grace. It’s an email from someone called Brad. It was sent out before Sunday’s games.

If any of you would like to respond to Brad, I think his return email address is brad@takeshimselfwaytooseriously.net.

“It’s a good thing if we don’t make the playoffs. Unlike some Steelers fans, I’m looking at the big picture. They have to miss them to stay in the 17th editorial niche. Another big win over a hated rival puts that in jeopardy. It’s football failures, young man. In other words, the strategy.

You learned that, didn’t you? Just because your family is Steelers fans doesn’t mean you are. Loyalty to the shield does.

Me, we as Steelers fans bleed black and gold, not the younger version of black and yellow, it’s superficial.

In the words of Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction”: “Discover Brad’s big brain!

Also from Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction”: “Well, let me respond!

Brad, are you preaching “shield loyalty”, and at the same time, you wanted the Steelers to lose to the Ravens in the Ben Roethlisberger final? Just so they can improve a few tough niches in the draft order?

You’re kidding me, aren’t you?

Do you remember Jarvis Jones? He was drafted 17th in the first round. Boy! He was really awesome. And Devin Bush finished 10th. Meanwhile, TJ Watt was a 30th pick and Cameron Heyward was a 31st pick.

So I’m supposed to believe that on Sunday you were crazy that the Jaguars blew up the Colts? Were you rooted against Chris Boswell to score the game-winning goal in Baltimore? And you wanted a tie between the Raiders and the Chargers?

For a guy who has such a deep ‘loyalty to the shield’, I find it hard to believe.

You might “bleed black and gold”. But if you think I’m buying this rooting crap for the Steelers to lose, I don’t think enough of that blood is reaching your brain.

Don’t condescend or lecture me on my understanding of strategy or the depth of fandom just because you’re old and have seen more games than I have. It does not mean that you are wise. It just means you’ve misunderstood what you’ve been watching for longer.

“Football chess”? Ha! You’ve been playing checkers all this time and you didn’t even realize it.

Checkmate, Brad.

Tim Benz is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication, unless otherwise specified.

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