Coach Mike Tomlin says Anthony Chickillo played ahead of James Harrison Sunday because Chickillo was “the hot hand.”
Bob Labriola of Steelers.com says Chickillo has moved above Harrison on the depth chart.
Regardless of why, it was surprising when Chickillo played right outside linebacker after T.J. Watt hurt his groin, leaving Harrison idle. Chickillo is normally Bud Dupree’s backup on the left. Harrison didn’t play a single snap.
Harrison is 39. Maybe he just can’t play anymore. Perhaps Harrison is now more of a mascot, or a “break glass in case of emergency” guy.
After the Steelers won four Super Bowls in the ‘70s, Coach Chuck Noll held onto too many of his ring-wearing veterans too long. Noll’s loyalty and respect for those vets hindered the Steelers.
The Steelers started winning Super Bowls again in the 2005 season, when Coach Bill Cowher accepted that future Hall-of-Famer Jerome Bettis was past his prime and worthy of nothing more than backup and short-yardage duty.
Loyalty took a back seat to reality, and “The Bus” got his ring despite trying to sabotage things with that late fumble in the Divisional playoff game at Indianapolis. Thank God for Ben Roethlisberger’s shoestring tackle.
Harrison is the past.
Chickillo, Watt and Dupree are the present.
The present always matters more.