I went through the expected bout of football withdrawal over the weekend so I took some time to compile a top ten list of what I considered either my favorite or most significant players of this past Steelers season. So the criterion was a little muddled. And I had to break it into two clips because YouTube was being balky for whatever reason. Either way, I wish I had expanded the list to 15, as I feel remiss without including Hines' touchdown catch to beat the Jaguars, Ryan Clark's hit on Wes Welker, Santonio's game-winner over the Ravens in December, Timmons' critical sack and forced fumble on Flacco late in that same game or the Polamalu red zone interception against Cleveland in Week 2. Or the blocked punt against the Redskins. Damn, so many. Important plays, all, but they didn't make the cut.
This was by far my favorite Steelers season (at least among the ones I've lived through. I'm sure the '70s years were grand.) While the run through the playoffs in 2005 was exhilarating and the first Super Bowl win amazing, this was the first year that I could devote all my time to thinking about the team without the qualms that attend dealing with other duties. As much as I owe several ulcers to the way a lot of the games played out, the outcome made every victory that much more satisfying with the knowledge that it was well-earned, if incredibly fretted over. The storylines didn't skimp either: difficult schedule, crappy line, youngest coach in Super Bowl, Roethlisberger coming off huge contract signing, league's best defense, defeating all the teams we despise. Altogether, it couldn't have worked out any better.
Sadly, we've reached the outset of months upon months of football doldrums, so I'll be entering into a bit of a hiatus here over the next few months, as much as I want to debate the random restroom ransackings of Jeff Reed. I'll pop in every once in a while to address oddities, free agency or the draft. But probably not a whole lot until summer, when preseason begins and I'll have a football book to shamelessly and relentlessly plug.