Here’s an excerpt from my latest TribLive.com column. To read the entire piece, click HERE.
The Steelers will be motivated (or at least we’ll pretend they are) because Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd said the Steelers quit at the end of that Cincinnati win in September.
“The last plays of the game for them, they gave up,” said Boyd, who played at Pitt and Clairton High School. “You could see it.”
Boyd’s words are doubtless posted on the Steelers’ locker-room bulletin board. That’s assuming the Steelers still have one. Maybe memories have been refreshed via group text.
Does anyone really believe a high-level sports team needs cheesy inspiration like that to be motivated for a game like Sunday’s?
If the Steelers lose, their season is in the toilet. That prospect should get the Steelers to give maximum effort, and not “give up” this time. (I saw it, too.)
The New York Jets were 18½-point underdogs to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Jets quarterback Joe Namath nonetheless guaranteed victory – and then the Jets won. Perhaps the Colts forgot to post Namath’s promise on their bulletin board, or didn’t get mad enough.
The Steelers need to be mad enough Sunday. If they lose, it’s all pretending after that.
Cleveland visits Baltimore Sunday. If the Steelers and Browns both win, one game will separate first and last place in the AFC North. I’m rooting for it to be that way, then stay like that ‘til Week 18 when the Steelers play at Baltimore and Cleveland hosts Cincinnati. What a finish.
That last paragraph is what I’m hoping for. You enter the season’s final day with the potential to win the division…or miss the playoffs. The Steelers have a tie, so they are extremely likely to not be involved in any tiebreakers.