Zach Banner Out for the Season

Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner leaves the game against the New York Giants with a leg injury at MetLife Stadium on September 14, 2020 in East Rutherford, NJ. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Since joining the Steelers in 2017, Zach Banner got his first chance to start on the offensive line and his season was cut short.

In the 2020 season opener against the New York Giants, Banner left the game with assistance after team trainers feared the worst after suffering a leg injury. It was confirmed that Banner will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and was placed on injured reserve.

Banner posted an optimistic video to twitter, ensuring fans that he will return to the field when he is healthy.


Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Defends Quarterback Mason Rudolph

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin took issue with  his backup quarterback Mason Rudolph being “accused” of using racial slurs during a game in Cleveland last season.

A physical altercation resulted in a melee between the Steelers and Browns during the 2019 season where Browns defensive end Myles Garrett forcibly removed Rudolph’s helmet and proceeded to hit him over the head with it. With 8-seconds left to play in the game, Garrett was ejected and suspended for the remaining 6 games of the season.

Coach Tomlin appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” to voice his opinion on the matter and to discuss the allegations against Mason Rudolph:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Steelers’ Head Coach Tomlin released the following statement:

I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game. I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization – players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns’ organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions.


EDITORIAL: Mike Tomlin is a Quality Coach that Deserves Respect

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during his weekly press conference. December 18, 2018 (Clyde Harris / Golden Sky Media)

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PITTSBURGH (GSM) — I’m sick of all of the “Tomlin didn’t maximize his talent” arguments in Pittsburgh.

Let’s look at the record:

2007: 1st year as head coach, he wins the AFC North but loses momentum and playoff game at home with last-second FG. This was AFTER the NFL’s leading rusher broke his leg in week 15 or 16 (i.e., “Fast” Willie Parker, he of the SB rushing record for longest TD run back in SB XL). Also- his franchise QB throws a pick-6 #ugh.

2008: Won SB as 2nd year coach.

2009: Team collapsed at the end of the year to miss the playoffs. SB hangover. I’ll concede that point. BAD loss to the Raiders at home.

2010: Made it to the SB. Lost to Aaron Rodgers after a(nother) Big Ben pick-6 (no one brings that up) and a bad fumble by Mendenhall (sp). Still lost by 6. Also got to the SB with a banged-up Troy Polamalu, who was the NFL Defensive MVP that was hurt late in the season versus the Bengals (apparently on a pick-6 return).

2011: Lost the Tebow game when his team was VERY banged up. Ryan Clark (starting safety) couldn’t play in Denver after almost dying the last time up there (sickle cell trait). Mendenhall tore his ACL in the past game of the regular season. Multiple injuries everywhere during that game. That was still a 12-4 team.

2012: Big Ben was injured for 3-4 games that year. Missed the playoffs.

2013: Started the season 0-4, including a bad loss in London to MIN. Went 8-4 (67%) the rest of the way, was one missed FG away from making the playoffs by the Chiefs in week 17.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

2014: Lost home playoff game after Le’Veon Bell was hurt in the last game of the regular season on a Sunday night (Cincy). This was the LeGarrette Blount season.

2015: Lost to the eventual SB champs (a team with a historic defensive) in the divisional round after Le’Veon Bell was lost for the year (knee vs Cincy again), AB was lost (Cincy concussion game), and Ben was playing with a bad shoulder (also hurt in the Cincy game). Oh, yeah: the backup RB (De’Angelo Williams) was out for the year as well, hurt in the last regular season game vs. Cleveland. Still was one bad fumble away from likely winning that game. Also: their all-Pro center was out for the year.

2016: Went to the AFC Champ game with a hurt Le’Veon Bell. Lost to eventual SB champs. Played the tail end of this season without one of his best defensive players – Cam Heyward (hurt late season).

(***By the way: anyone seeing a theme with some of these late-season IR-leading injuries to top-flight players?!?!


How does Tomlin get blame for that? His fault for foot fractures, tore ACLs, or broken legs?)

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

2017: With a 13-3 team, lost in divisional round after losing the heart of their defense one month prior (i.e., remember that the Shazier injury was 13 days BEFORE the NE game), causing their defensive to go from top 8 defense in the league to mediocre AT BEST. Gave up 45 points at home with a dude at MLB (Sean Spence) that sat roughly 12 games of the season on the couch. Still should NOT have been in that JAX game (i.e., should have been the #1 seed playing a BAD TEN team) if not for the “Jesse James” game and HORRIBLE Big Ben INT after the James reversal (again, no one talks about that HORRIBLE decision by a $100m QB…some of these “Tomlin losses” have been due to the QB being “a gunslinger” and losing winnable games much like Brett Favre…another QB who could easily have more rings if his style of play afforded better decisions)

BTW: lost that NE game at home without their best CB (Haden was hurt), best LB (Shazier) and the league’s best WR (Brown was hurt early in that game)…still lost because of James reversal and the bad QB decision afterwards.

2018: 9-6-1 after bad losses mid-season. I’ll give you that. Also will note that Conner was hurt and out for 3 games – when he was playing at a Pro Bowl-level. Bell was out (i.e., his own decision), and Brown was a huge headache all year long. That said: they went from possible #1 seed to missing the playoffs pretty fast.

2019: 8-8 with Duck Hodges (i.e., a 4th string QB to start training camp) and Mason Rudolph (i.e., 3rd string QB in 2018) at QB. JuJu missed 4 games. Conner missed 6 games and left during a 7th. Pouncey missed a game.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the preseason matchup vs the Carolina Panthers on August 29, 2019 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. (Montez Aiken / Golden Sky Media)

My point? I know…injuries happen to everyone. However, how many teams lose Pro Bowl-caliber talent late in the season and then do well (i.e., win multiple games) in the playoffs?

I have been a Steelers supporter as a native Pittsburgher. I wish that they won a few more SBs with this QB there. However, let’s be honest: things haven’t completely fallen into place with this team. This year showed us that there’s a drop-off from best WR or top-5 QB in the league to “next man up”, despite “…the standard is the standard…” Same is true for top-5 LB (Shazier in 2017), top-10 DL (Heyward), top-5 C (Pouncey), top-3 RB (Bell/Conner/Parker), and top-tier CB (Haden).

NE has never made it to the SB without a) playing in a division that was quite the opposite as the competitive AFC North (which often sent THREE teams to the playoffs between 2008-2015), having the 1st round bye, and not losing key components (minus not having Gronk in 2016) late in the season. Their “reign of terror” has so much to do with playing in that LOUSY division for 20 years (i.e., never more than 2 teams in the playoffs at one time – and usually only NE went) than anything else.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the team’s 2019 training camp in Latrobe, PA. (Sheila Thompson / Golden Sky Media)

Since 2007, the AFC North Champs:

PGH: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017
BALT: 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019
CIN: 2009, 2013, 2015

The AFC North has had (minus Cleveland) some of the most talented and competitive football (and vicious hitting as well) over the past 20 years. Tomlin has been here for the majority of it and has multiple championships (division, conference, and SB) despite it…and the ill-fated injuries that come with all of that to boot.

Can some of us please just stop it with the “Tomlin hasn’t done enough” rhetoric? If 2019 won’t shut you up, please take a look at this year – and the whole record – to get more of why you might not completely get it (i.e., know what you’re talking about/have a waning memory based on your Yinzerism)

…just seems like something some Pittsburghers and some of #SteelerNation should give up on as a New Year’s Resolution for 2020.

LENNY MCALLISTER IS AN AWARD WINNING commentator who is a contributor to golden sky media.

EDITORIAL: Dear, ‘Tomlin Sucks/Harbaugh Rocks’ Haters

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (left) and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Can I say it? Can I just go…ahead…and say it?

The very things that you “seemingly hate” about Tomlin and the “…a good coach like John Harbaugh would never do…” things, came out in full force Saturday night in the 28-12 loss to the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

For some examples (among many):

* Unlike Tomlin, a good coach like Harbaugh would NEVER lose a home playoff game after gaining home field advantage in the playoffs, much less after lording over a 14-2 football team that dominated the league all season,

* Unlike Tomlin, a good coach like Harbaugh would NEVER allow his obviously-more-talented football team to come out “flat” (e.g., go down 14-0 at home to a 9-7 #6 seed),

* or “uninspired” (e.g., how do you not get a 4th-and-1 or a 4th-and-inches while fighting for your playoff lives),

* or “undisciplined” (e.g., did you see Humpreys bite on that double move for the long TD pass that led to the 14-0 lead),

* nor would he make “unforgivable coaching decisions” (e.g., really? you go for it on a 4th-and-inches in YOUR OWN TERRITORY down 7-0 to a QB that barely threw for 100 yards the weekend before…with the #4 defense in the league AT HOME?!?!? Better still, why the heck would you kill what little momentum and hope you’d gain from FINALLY scoring a TD in the 4th Q by going for two, not getting it, then KICKING OFF DEEP while down by 2 TD’s?!?!?),

* or allow his team to “under-perform” or “play down to the competition” (e.g., Blake Bortles….I mean, Ryan Tannehill is a journeyman QB that has thrown for less than 250 yards in TWO NFL PLAYOFF GAMES) with a #4-ranked defense that KNEW that the ONLY REAL THREAT that the Titans had was the running game with Leonard Fournette….I mean, Derrick Henry,

I mean: you have the NFL MVP ON YOUR TEAM (Lamar Jackson) and the #4 defense in the NFL as well as home field advantage and facing a #6 seed that lost to the Panthers, Broncos and Jaguars this season, and you lose by 16?


And he’s only been to ONE Super Bowl!

John Harbaugh’s career as head coach:

– 128–81 (.612)

– AFC North Champs: 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019

– AFC Champs: 2012

– SB Champs: 2012

– Sub .500 seasons: 1

– Playoff appearances: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019

Mike Tomlin’s career as head coach:

– 141–80–1 (.637)

– AFC North Champs: 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017

– AFC Champs: 2008, 2010

– SB Champs: 2008

– Sub .500 seasons: 0

– Playoff appearances: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Of course, I’m being a little sarcastic here — while pointing out only SOME of the items that happened last night in the Ravens’ horrendous loss.

At the same time, for all of you that love to point out “Tomlin’s flaws” yet put Harbaugh on a high pedestal over him as a “much better coach,” please check out what happened last night, as that loss was at least as bad as the 2017 Jags loss at Heinz Field.

Remember that Tomlin has never had 2 Hall of Fame players on his Defense at the same time (i.e., Harbaugh won with Ed Reed/Ray Lewis…”someone else’s players”) or a Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback in Joe Flacco.

Tomlin is 2-1 vs. Harbaugh in the playoffs, including a loss without MVP running back that was injured 6 days earlier.

Both guys are good coaches. The stats are there as to who has done better in the same division and almost with the same mirror-image teams of each other (especially earlier in the rivalry).

After watching that fiasco last night, I ask (some of) you not to let “other items” get in the way of your “analysis” of the Tomlin/Harbaugh debate. Not all of you do this, but some folks do – and we kinda all know what’s going on with those that do.

EDITORIAL: Josh Gordon Needs Treatment Not Criticism

Josh Gordon, all-pro wide receiver. (Courtesy: Seattle Seahawks)

(GSM) — When it comes to embattled NFL wide receiver Josh Gordon, it is another sad chapter in the life of a once mercurial talent.

The life inside the pressure cooker of the NFL is too much for a person who engages in drug use, to overcome. The psychological problems associated with addiction are far too complex, the pressures to perform too great and the lack of real treatment is sorely lacking. Acknowledging the problem is a step, but real treatment geared towards managing the damage done to your brain as a consequence of addiction, is what is needed to save users like Josh. Professional football has far too many triggers, too many risks, too many temptations for any athlete suffering from addiction, including but not limited to opioid use found in many athletes worldwide.

What most people don’t realize, is that drug use changes the function of your brain by burning up synapses that secrete dopamine and enkephalins. The synaptic junction cannot ever achieve the high they once experienced. The brain is telling you to get the drug and will put you through hell if you don’t receive it. You chase a high you cannot achieve no matter how much you take. The user will get high, but the brain tells the individual to get more and more, it is never enough to calm the desire for more drugs.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

“My heart goes out to Josh having to face this again. The fact that he is up against it and all, it poses a great challenge to him. Fortunately he’ll have the great benefit of all of the league’s resources to support him and help him and we’ll wish him the very best in taking care of business. It’s really unfortunate.” – Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll in a press conference 

This week, it was announced that he will be suspended indefinitely by the NFL after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs and substance abuse. For Mr. Gordon’s sake, it is best that he receives the necessary treatment needed to overcome the addiction. Nonetheless, it is best to take a step back from gridiron competition and focus on saving his own life.

Josh Gordon needs treatment, not criticism.