If there is one team that is not exactly off to a smooth start when it comes to team unity, it has to be the Black and Gold of the Pittsburgh Steelers. From the moment the season ended, the Steelers have seemed to have been in a complete dissray, from a head coaching change that made many people, including players, scratch their heads, to the release of the teams emotional leader, to the now unhappiness of the teams best offensive linemen. The new Steelers, a team that won the Super Bowl just a year a half ago, seem like a team that could be a train wreck once the season kicks off in September.
The entire saga of Pro-Bowl guard Alan Faneca has put yet another chink in the armor of what the team has always seemed to have – and that is unity among the coaches, players and ownership. Never has the team had to undergo such stinging comments like they have over the past few days, with a player like Fanaca coming out and basically saying you’d better like what you see of him in 2007, becuase in 2008 he’ll be gone. “This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Faneca said on Friday. “I’ve been asking since February to trade me, to let me go,” Faneca said. “I’ve done my piece, I’ve done my time, I’ve done everything I can for this organization. I lived and breathed Steelers football for nine years and gave them everything I had, helped them win a Super Bowl. In my mind, I’ve earned the right to be treated fairly. To make me go out there this year, play football with no security … for what I’ve done for this organization, in my mind is not right.”
The Faneca thing is just the tip of the iceberg for Pittsburgh, a team whose new head coach, Mike Tomlin, has not exactly had an easy first few months as the new head man. The team has had to hear it time after time – why was not Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm, two former top assistants, hired as the new head coach? Why wast Joey Porter, the hot-headed linebacker who was the teams emotional leader, released instead of given a shot to return to form this year? And the biggest question, why does Faneca, a player that is going to be close to impossible to replace – given a new deal.
Maybe the Steelers have a plan that they are hiding from the rest of the football world. Maybe Porter has played his best football, Tomlin will be a great hire as the head coach, and suddenly a deal with Faneca can be reached and his words against the teams ownership will be put to rest. This is not your fathers Steelers, and fans will quickly come to realize that if the teams offseason moves continue to blow up in their faces. And if there is one thing for sure, that will not sit well in the Steel City come the 2007 season.