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For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over T. J. Watt
, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold
is over — think again. and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed
some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes
greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.Today in the Black-and-gold links
article we take a look at how while fans think turning the Steelers’ roster from
a non-playoff team into a Super Bowl contender is easy, it isn’t. In fact,
putting together a Super Bowl roster is anything but easy.Let’s get to the
news:Analysis: No set way to build a Super Bowl rosterBy: Dale LolleyThe
Patriots are in the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season and fourth time
in five years. The Rams are the new kids on the block who have quickly gone from
a team that was 4-12 three years ago to one that is on the cusp of winning a
championship.How did they get there and, perhaps more importantly for Pittsburgh
fans, how do the Steelers get over the hump to get back to their ninth Super
Bowl?Looking at the rosters of all three teams, there are some definitive
similarities to how they have been constructed and some obvious differences.
There are even some differences between the Patriots and Rams, showing there’s
no set rule how to build a roster.FREE AGENCYThe Patriots have been a team that
has not been afraid to sign players through free agency. In fact, 12 of their
current players were acquired in that fashion.But none of their free agents
would be considered big-name or big-money players. For example, their biggest
signing last offseason, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, signed a two-year,
$10-million deal. And he’s a player with 32.5 career sacks in eight seasons.The
Rams, on the other hand, were extremely active on the free agent market last
offseason. They signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a one-year, $14-million
contract in their biggest move. They also signed linebacker Ramik Wilson,
defensive lineman Dominque Easley, center John Sullivan and corners Nickell
Robey-Coleman and Sam Shields to deals worth a combined $29 million. Only
Sullivan, who got a two-year deal, and Robey-Nickell Joshua Dobbs
, who was signed for three years, were signed for more than
one season.(To read more, click the link in the headline...)Roger Goodell admits
blown call in Rams-Saints; NFL will consider replay for pass interferenceBy: The
Washington Post, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewNFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
said Wednesday that the league’s competition committee will consider the
prospect of making pass interference calls subject to review by instant replay,
but he stopped short of declaring that he favors such a change to the sport’s
replay system.Goodell, speaking at his annual state-of-the-league address during
Super Bowl week, also said that he never considered overturning the result of
the Los Angeles Rams’ triumph at New Orleans in the NFC championship game and
ordering the game replayed from the point of the missed interference call late
in regulation that may have cost the Saints a victory.“That was not a
consideration,” Goodell said.The tumult over the interference non-call in the
final two minutes of regulation has continued into Super Bowl week. Goodell made
the NFL’s first public acknowledgment that the call was erroneous.“It’s a play
that should be called,” Goodell said.Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president
of officiating, admitted to Saints coach Sean Payton after the game that
interference should have been called against the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman for
an early hit on the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis. Robey-Coleman also was fined for an
illegal hit on Lewis on the play that went uncalled.Goodell said he subsequently
spoke to Payton, a member of the competition committee. He said he understands
the frustration of the Saints and their fans. He also defended the league’s
decision not to make a public acknowledgment of the officiating mistake
earlier.“That’s our process,” Goodell said.Goodell noted that the competition
committee in the past has been against making judgment calls such as pass
interference subject to replay. But he said the league still must consider
potential changes.“Technology is not going to solve all those issues 鈥?but we
have to continue to go down that path鈥?. We will look again at instant replay,”
Goodell said.Goodell said he will “make sure the competition committee
understands this is critical to us” for there to be a better solution than there
currently is for addressing such an officiating mistake.“We try to get better,”
Goodell said. “We try to learn鈥?. I think the committee will definitely consider
this.”(To read more, click the link in the headline...)Here are some
Pittsburgh-themed Super Bowl prop bet ideasBy: Adam Bittner, Pittsburgh
Post-GazetteWe have to break up the monotony of another Super Bowl involving the
New England Patriots somehow, so here are some Pittsburgh-themed prop bet
suggestions. Challenge friends and family to match wits. The person who gets the
most answers correct wins ... uh ... tortilla chips, or some other mutually
agreed upon prize. 1. Yes or no: Will CBS analyst Bill Cowher, former Steelers
coach, cause another social media stir by wearing a turtleneck during the
network’s pre-game coverage? 2. Over or under: Two sacks for Los Angeles
defensive lineman Aaron Donald, the former Penn Hills and Pitt star? 3. Over or
under: One touchdown for New England tight end Rob Gronkowski, a former Woodland
Hills standout? 4. Yes or no? Will the game broadcast mention 2019 as the
10-year anniversary of the Steelers’ last Super Bowl victory? (References to
James Harrison’s long interception return and Santonio Holmes’ iconic
game-winning touchdown catch count.)5. When will the mystery ad featuring Donald
and Steelers’ legend Joe Greene air? Choices: Before the game, first
half Derwin Gray
Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey
, halftime, second half, after the game.
6. When will the NFL ad featuring Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and
former Pitt star Larry Fitzgerald air? (Same choices as above.) 7. Yes or no?
Will former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw appear in an ad? 8. Yes or no?
Will Antonio Brown’s strained relationship with the Steelers be mentioned on the
game broadcast? 9. Yes or no? Will Brown awkwardly appear in an ad while wearing
a Steelers uniform or team colors? 10. Over or under: One reference to New
England QB Tom Brady as a “known cheater” on the game broadcast?(To read more,
click the link in the headline...)L.J. Fort is the Pittsburgh Steelers version
of Rocky Balboa A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins. Growing up most
individuals are taught this valuable life lesson. My dad wasn’t a fan of sports,
playing or watching. He viewed sports as a waste of valuable time that could be
spent working. Hard work was an honest, productive endeavor and a means to an
end. It was a way to make a living and provide for your family. I have never met
or witnessed a harder worker than my father when he was living and he was
perfectly happy out in nature working the farm. He was content and at peace with
his life, envious of no man. How many people can make that statement about their
life? My father lived it everyday, and all that mattered to him was his faith
and his family. That is a priceless testimony and legacy to leave behind for
your children. My father was always my hero, still is. The example I strive
daily to be, but sadly fall short of.Thanks to each of you for indulging me for
a moment. I recalled so many cherished memories of his guidance while outlining
this article. One that immediately came to mind was “You don’t ever start a
fight, but you better make sure you finish it.” This was consistent with the
mentality he was determined to instill in me, “You finish what you started.” He
may not have liked sports, but he didn’t try to stop me from participating, as
long as my chores were done first. He seemed disinterested when it came to my
success on the field or court, because he was more concerned with my
faithfulness and commitment to my team, and the integrity I displayed in the
process. I would want to talk about my stats, but my dad was more interested in
the hustle plays. In his wisdom he understood what parts of a child’s game
actually had value and merit in a man’s life.If my dad was still with us, he
would have loved to hear the incredible story of perseverance and determination
of Pittsburgh Steelers player L.J. Fort. He represents the very best of what the
NFL has to offer and exemplifies the never-say-die attitude my dad would have
loved. A modern day Rocky story, my favorite movie series all time.Anybody who
has been reading my articles, or have noticed my posts on BTSC comment boards,
knows I have been campaigning for Fort to receive more playing time. I was
admittedly shocked when the Steelers signed Sean Spence off the couch after Ryan
Shazier went down last season, but I trusted the Steelers brass knew the caliber
of their players far better than I. Fort had proven to be a strong special teams
performer by that point, but that was about it. I assumed Spence must have
recovered the step he lost after his devastating knee injury Derwin Gray Pittsburgh
Steelers Jersey
, but the Steelers were mistaken. Fort would
actually receive only a few opportunities to see the field last season, and they
were uneventful to say the least.After an off season that witnessed the Steelers
seemingly fail to address their issues at inside linebacker; the team only added
free agent Jon Bostic and UDFA Matthew Thomas at the position, things were
finally looking up for Fort to not only make the roster but actually receive
meaningful playing time. Fort has most definitely made the most of that
opportunity.There were whispers coming out of OTA’s and the early portion of
camp that Fort looked like a new player. Then the preseason started and in my
opinion Fort immediately resembled the most complete inside backer the Steelers
have on the roster. I would watch the film and Fort would always stand out, in a
good way. He flowed to the ball, shedding blockers on his way, and arrived at
the ball carrier with an impact. His quickness really stood out on a defense
that desperately needed it. But it was in coverage where he definitely stands
out from the rest of the linebackers on the roster. Thomas also has that same
type of athleticism, but he is still a raw prospect that is being brought along
slowly.Fort has endured the roller coaster ride that the NFL experience has to
offer. He has been signed and released multiple times. He knows what it feels
like to be labeled a camp body. He tried his hand first as a outside linebacker,
then as a fullback, before finally settling in as a inside linebacker. There has
been an impressive list of franchises that have kicked the tires so to speak on
Fort since he came into the league as a undrafted free agent with the Browns
back in 2012, further evidence of his talents and athletic ability. Many times
his path to an NFL roster was blocked by the proven talents already on the
rosters ahead of him at the time. This year it seems the light may have finally
came on for L.J. Fort. Sometimes a man just needs an chance, other times he just
needs the maturity level required to actually seize the opportunity. A former
player better known as Deebo followed a similar path to success.Fort didn’t get
the start on Sunday against the Falcons, but he made his presence known not long
after seeing the field. He was all over the field once inserted, flying to the
ball with violent intentions. He picked up a sack on a well timed delayed blitz
up the middle, displayed his excellent coverage skills whenever the ball was in
the air; once making a picture perfect tackle on one of Atlanta’s speedy running
backs that resulted in a fourth down punting situation, and fittingly recovered
a fumble in the endzone for a touchdown to close out his evening.Hopefully his
outstanding performance has opened the eyes of the defensive coaching staff,
especially Keith Butler, to the point he will continue to receive meaningful
minutes even after Vince Williams returns. I hate to say it, but I believe the
combination of Jon Bostic and L.J. Fort gives the Steelers defense the best
chance for sustained success this season. Williams could still receive valuable
minutes backing up Bostic and Thomas could continue his learning process behind
Fort. I believe Thomas has NFL starter potential if properly focused and
motivated. This rotation would allow Dirty Red to focus his efforts toward his
valuable position of special teams standout.The size of Vince Williams contract
extension shouldn’t matter when doling out playing time, nor should the fact
that Fort up to this point has been an NFL journeyman. All that matters is who
gives the team the best chance to stop the opposition and win the game.One thing
we have learned about Mr. Fort is that when the going gets tough, it isn’t in
his nature to quit. My dad would have liked that.
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