Stories From The Sidelines

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I took my position at “Ice Station Zebra” on the sidelines for the Steelers-Jets AFC Championship game. I had so many layers of clothing on that if i fell, i’d be like the kid in “Christmas Story” and not be able to get up.

As i’ve said before, i remember playing years ago in weather like this game wearing a cut-off T-shirt under my shoulder pads. Things have certainly changed for the kid here. With my huge Steelers parka on i must’a looked like i was wearing one of those rent-a-sumo suits for a party.

That’s why i spent a lot of time watching James Farrior last night. As you age, the game gets faster and the hits harder. And the cold only makes it worse. How, i’m wondering, does this guy do it, in his 14th year, at such a high level is beyond me.

In last night’s game the Jets were driving and faced with a 3rd down. The Jets went stretch run to LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) towards the Steelers sidelines. James Harrison broke inside and came down the line to grab hold of LT’s jersey. But Harrison didn’t have the angle to stop LT.

At the same time Farrior scraped on a run assignment that brought him face to face with LT. It’s a short 3rd down conversion and one of those Highlander moments as in “There can be only one!” Either James wins and it’s 4th down, or it’s LT and a Jets first down.

James Farrior came with a vengeance. It was such a gigantic hit that i thought neither one of them might get up. I could hear the “PI-yaa” hit all the way to the sidelines through my headset. James had stopped LT short of the first down. It was an incredible hit, powerful and fierce. And James just popped to his feet like it was nothing.

Someday this great linebacker, the unchallenged “Alpha Male” leader of the Steelers according to Mike Tomlin, will take his place among the likes of the Lamberts, Russells, Hams, etc.

But not yet.