What are you doing, Pittsburgh? I rarely question decisions made by the Steelers’ front office, as it has built two Super Bowl champions and perennial playoff contenders in my lifetime. Hell, the Steelers have only had three coaches since Woodstock, but dammit, you can’t let James Harrison walk with a “Super Bowl or bust” mentality with ONE GAME LEFT in the regular season. I get it, it’s probably safe to say that at 39 years young, Harrison is a tad past his prime—but he’s ALSO the all-time sack leader for a franchise with such defensive hall-of-famers as Mean Joe Green, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham and soon enough, Troy Polamalu. Not to mention Harrison’s 2008 Defensive Player of the Year award.
Sure, T.J. Watt has been exceptional in replacing most of Harrison’s pass-rushing duties. Watt’s six sacks, seven passes defended, forced fumble and interception clearly exceed Harrison’s 40 snaps for only three combined tackles and a sack this season. And I’m grateful that the Steelers can reload the talent on the defense, but to cut Harrison in order to activate Marcus Gilbert—who was suspended four games for PEDs on top of three other missed games with a hamstring injury—just doesn’t feel right to me. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not on Gilbert’s case for his on-field talent so much as for his jack-assery. He stands 6’6’ at 330 lbs—I’m not sure how much more physically dominant PEDs could make him. I mean, he is a core piece of the offensive line and I’m glad he’s back in the starting lineup, I guess I just don’t understand why it was Harrison and not someone like Butch Jones’ finest, Josh Dobbs. Dobbs could put his aerospace engineering degree to use and fight climate change or make robots, or something.
So, Harrison signs with none other than the New England Patriots. As if Belichick’s 7-2 record against Mike Tomlin had not already exposed Tomlin in every facet. And now this? We have effectively sent Brady a late Christmas gift as he prepares for his highly-anticipated AFC East matchup against the New York Football Jets this Sunday. Not only is Harrison a human playbook that will help the Patriots shred the Steelers once again, he was my favorite Steeler since Troy Polamalu. You could say I’m as triggered as Aaron Rodgers at Christmas dinner.
I can already see Harrison strip sacking Big Ben in the AFC Championship, taking him out of the game and forcing him into what seems like his third year in retirement. I’m honestly surprised Mike Tomlin didn’t do this earlier so he could activate himself to the Steelers’ front seven. I mean, he is 1-for-1 (100%) on touchdown saving tackles in the NFL (just ask Jacoby Jones). And if you ask Big Ben about Harrison’s departure, he’d just crack that fake-ass smile and say, “It’s just AFC North football.”
-Bama Boi (@AJBurgess54)