I'm gearing up for today's big game. I'll don my long-sleeve, Steelers-winner-of-six-Super-Bowls T-shirt for my gym workout. It's part of my game-day superstition. Before game time, I will shower and change into my Steelers/Pittsburgh Football long-sleeve shirt that one of my nieces gave me for Christmas this year. I wore it for the final game of the season when the Steelers humiliated the Browns and for both playoff games. I will wear it for today's game as well. How could I not?
I have friends who are hosting a Super Bowl party. They are part of the Peddler Wednesday Night Irregulars who I hang out with. Although they aren't Steelers loyalists, they decided before the Steelers/Jets contest that if the Steelers won, they would host a Super Bowl bash. Having loaded up on Rolling Rock beer -- couldn't find any Iron City (thank, God) -- I am ready to hunker down and watch some football.
I saw a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story this morning lauding the superior effort of Sean Kugler, who has been the Steelers offensive line coach since the end of the 2009 season. Whatever the Rooneys are paying him, they should double it. Consider that only one of five offensive linemen expected to start this season is still in the lineup: Chris Kemoeatu. More games than not this season have seen a new face somewhere among this front five. If the Steelers can win today's game with this cobbled-together offensive line, Pittsburgh ought to erect a statue to Kugler.
The loss of Pro Bowl rookie center Maurkice Pouncey will be the toughest negative to overcome today. However, coach Mike Tomlin somehow instills such a wealth of pride in even the guys filling spots on the practice squad, that Doug Legursky, Pouncey's replacement, may just step in and get the job done.
My prediction is that the Steelers offense will need to score at least 14 points (and the Steelers D contribute another 7 points) for the Steelers to win today. That means the offensive line is going to have to create running lanes and stand tough in pass protection. I'd feel more confident if Willie Colon and Pouncey were in the mix; however, this is an offensive line that has somehow managed to get the job done more often than not this season. I have to believe that they will gather themselves up and deliver one more miracle today.