Category Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

CLEan House: Browns Fire Hue Jackson, Media Members Speak Their Minds

David Dietrich is a second-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. The Tiffin, Ohio native is a Sport Management major, with a minor in journalism. His primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, at both collegiate and professional levels.

On Monday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns’ front office announced they would be relieving head coach Hue Jackson of his duties. This marks the sixth time since 2010 the Browns have fired their head coach after a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is justified by Sunday’s game, which was one of the ugliest games in recent memory. Jackson is notorious for leading his teams to competitive games, only to lose in the final minutes of the 4th quarter. This time, the Browns faced a three-touchdown deficit with under a minute to play. A last-minute touchdown drive against a cruising Steelers’ defense brought the score to a more respectable number, but the damage was already done. The day of reckoning had passed, and Jackson failed yet again.

Both local and national media publications are aggressively criticizing Jackson for his unsuccessful stint in Cleveland. The combination of his numbers (three wins and one tie in 40 games, good for a winning percentage of .088) and his constant mishandling of adversity made Jackson an easy target for frustrated writers and analysts. Terry Pluto (2018) of Cleveland.com  wrote that this action “won’t make things any worse” (para. 13), while SB Nation’s Ryan Van Bibber (2018) asserted that “Hue survived by creating chaos and then positioning himself as a victim and the one person who can clean it all up” (para. 36).  In perhaps the most opinionated piece, Pluto’s colleague Doug Lesmerises (2018) took several digs at Jackson, including “anyone could have done better” (para. 10), “every single problem Jackson faced for 2 1/2 seasons, he took and made it worse” (para. 19), and “the future of the Browns is brighter today because Jackson isn’t part of it” (para. 33).

Local media members will continue to take their shots at Jackson this week, then turn their attention towards interim head coach Gregg Williams as he prepares the team for a match-up against the AFC-best Kansas City Chiefs. Williams has not been a head coach since 2003. For now, Cleveland fans will do what they always do: tune in on Sunday afternoon and hope their beloved Brownies can somehow pull out a rare victory. This is potentially the most discouraged fan base across all major sports, and the loyal fans simply deserve better. As NFL teams progress through the back half of the season, there will be one question looming in the back of the minds of fans, players, and media members. For many people, it will be a rallying cry; for Browns fans, it will be a cry of desperation. As they try to salvage another disappointing season, Browns fans will be among many asking the all-important question: who’s next?

References

Lesmerises, D. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson fired by the Browns, and no coach ever deserved it more. Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/10/hue_jackson_fired_by_the_brown.html

Pluto, T. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson’s firing should set up John Dorsey to pick new Browns coach. Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/sports/columns/2018/10/hue-jacksons-firing-should-set-up-john-dorsey-to-pick-new-browns-coach-terry-pluto.html

Van Bibber, R. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson finally ran out of excuses for the Browns being terrible. SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2018/10/29/18035166/cleveland-browns-hue-jackson-todd-haley-hot-seat-rumors-excuses-losses-steelers

 

National Media Aims to Make Le’Veon Bell Bad Guy in Holdout Fiasco

Drew Gallagher is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is a working towards getting a major in Sport Management and a minor in General Business. He is a proud native of Aurora, Illinois and is interested in many sports. He generally focuses on Baseball and Football at both the professional and collegiate levels.

Another week goes by as Le’Veon Bell still has not signed his $14.5 million franchise tender with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Being as good as he is, one would think that his teammates and fans would be incredibly eager to get him back. This might have been the case when the Steelers started 1-2-1; but after two big wins against the Falcons and Bengals, and two consecutive 100-yard, 2-TD rushing games from James Conner, fans in Pittsburgh are much less reluctant to beg for Bell to come back.

Le’Veon Bell is still of course the best running back in the league. Those involved with the Steelers have seemed to come to terms with the fact that chances are, they won’t have him on their team next year no matter when he comes back this year. Most fans have even gone a step further and are in hopes that he won’t come back at all. According to a poll surveyed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the largest newspaper in the Pittsburgh area, 66% of people don’t want him to come back (Cook, 2018). Ben Roethlisberger has also expressed his neutral stance on the topic (Gentille, 2018). While this may not completely be his fault, national media has tended to put the blame on Bell throughout this entire process.

At first, they reported the story as if he was a selfish person and wasn’t concerned with how his team would fare this year without him. While this may be true from a certain standpoint, it seems that it is rare for anybody in the national media to take Bell’s side throughout the holdout. The truth is that this entire issue has been a long time coming between Le’Veon Bell and his current team of five years.

Bell has previously expressed communication issues with the Steelers regarding a contract extension for the pro-bowl running back. These issues have dated back to the 2016 off-season after his rookie contract had expired. He has been tagged twice since then as the two sides have still been unable to reach an agreement on an extension. Near the end of last season, Bell made it known to the media that if the Steelers decided to tag him again, he would consider holding out or even retiring (Quinn, 2018). During this year’s training camp, he also made it clear multiple times that he would not play in the regular season without a long-term contract and a good amount of guaranteed money. The media still seemed to be surprised and disappointed when he didn’t sign his franchise tender before the season started, and they continue to feel the same way every week that has gone by since.

The fact still remains that Bell has been over-worked by the Steelers in the past and has continuously risked injury while playing a position that is arguably the most dangerous in an already dangerous sport. Continuing to play would be a huge risk for Bell without a long-term contract. We’ll see how long this holdout lasts, but I’d be willing to bet that Bell will continue to remain the bad guy in the eyes of the media until then.

 

References

Cook, R. (2018, October 15). Ron Cook: One Steeler ready for Le’Veon Bell’s return — James Conner. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ron-cook/2018/10/15/Ron-Cook-Steelers-running-back-James-Conner-welcome-back-Le-Veon-Bell-Deion-Sanders-Ben-Roethlisberger-ESPN/stories/201810160027

Gentille, S. (2018, October 23). Ben Roethlisberger has thoughts on ‘Coach Todd’ and Le’Veon Bell. Sort of. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/10/23/patrick-peterson-steelers-ben-roethlisberger-937-the-fan-leveon-bell-james-conner/stories/201810230110

Quinn, S. (2018, October 10). The unabridged timeline of Le’Veon Bell’s holdout. In 247sports.com. Retrieved from https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/ContentGallery/LeVeon-Bell-absence-timeline-121486548/#121486548_4