This is a tweet I got as the post game show began Sunday night following Pittsburgh’s 14-3 loss to the Vikings in the Hall of Fame pre-season game.

Ok, perhaps A BIT strong to characterize the 2015 Steelers in that fashion after four quarters of fake football in August (oh, and I’m guessing that guy is a Patriot fan by the way). But to draw out the analogy, it was indeed a dog *bleep* game. And it was a dog *bleep* Steeler showing.

However pre-season football is, by rule, an abomination. If you’re like me, you spend three-and-a-half hours watching these games through your fingers as your hands cover your face, hoping that no one of substance gets hurt as a bunch of future Canadian Football League second teamers battle to make it through another week of training camp.

Well, so much for that! Not only did the Steeler scrubs play poorly. At least one of the good players couldn’t even stay healthy. Kicker Shaun Suisham is out for the year with A-C-L injury to his plant leg after trying to make a tackle.

It’d be bad news for any team to lose a place kicker in the pre-season. But consider these angles on Suisham’s absence from the roster:

-He is 62-71 at the kicker Death Valley known as Heinz Field. That’s good for a conversion rate of 87%. Other Steeler kickers converted at just a 75% clip in the nine years between when the stadium opened and when Suisham took over. And those numbers include Jeff Reed’s largely successful run as Steeler kicker before he fell apart in 2010.

-Suisham has had just one kick blocked in his entire Steeler career

-Suisham has never missed an extra point as a Steeler. And that becomes more important this year as the P-A-T is moved back to a 33 yard kick. Furthermore, between 30-39 yards Suisham is 34-38 in black and gold.

-The Steeler offense ranked just 19th in Red Zone TD efficiency last year. They are 28th in goal line offense. So a reliable kicker is key, unless we are willing to assume that the Steelers will suddenly reverse fortune in 2015.


The names of free agent kickers who may be in the mix to replace Reed are speculated to include the likes of Billy Cundiff, Jay Feely, and Shayne Graham. Brandon McManus are Connor Barth are apparently in a kicker battle in Denver.

And Reed himself is on the record as saying he’s reached out to Mike Tomlin about coming back.

Did he make that phone call before or after he was allegedly escorted out of the stadium in Canton Sunday night? Reed refuted reports that he was drunk and argumentative and that HE WAS the victim of fan taunting in the stands (this is where you insert whatever joke you like about how he was also attacked by the paper towel dispenser in that Sheetz bathroom).

Well if he thought that fan was over the line, wait until what he hears if he does come back and endures another 9-15 stretch like what he went through in 2010 before he was let go.

And the Steelers are in this mess because Suisham decided to “knuckle up” and make a “Sunday football” tackle in a worthless pre-season game. Irony-of-Ironies…remember how many people used to gripe about Reed’s poor tackling whiffs on kickoffs in the middle of his career?! And those were games that counted! Why couldn’t Suisham look at those game tapes?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony can be a real spectacle. That was evident by the throngs of Terrible Towel churning Steeler maniacs who cheered on Jerome Bettis’ speech as if he was barreling through yet another hole created by an Alan Faneca block at left guard. But the celebration weekend is good enough without making two teams play an extra game in what is already a pre-season that is two weeks too long for every other team in the league.

Posted in Pittsburgh Steelers