Curran: Steelers loss was a win for New England


Curran: Steelers loss was a win for New England

By Tom E. Curran

DALLAS I think we can agree that, when appraising any situation, the only question that demands answering is: What does this mean to meeeeee?

And there were things that occurred in Dallas Sunday night that had relevance to people residing in the Northeast corner of these United States.

Christina Aguilera leaving out her ramparts during the National Anthem? Interesting. Not impactful.

The Pittsburgh Steelers bumbling away a chance at their third Super Bowl win since 2005? Impactful.

I know enough Steelers fans to be aware of their searing hatred for all things New England Patriots. Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Danny Woodheads adorable three-legged basset hound? Hate. Hate. And hate.

Its born of their agitation with the Patriots usurping Pittsburgh as the dominant AFC team. From 1975 through 2000, no AFC franchise approached the legacy the Steelers built in the 1970s.

The Broncos kinda did, but even those two Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998 didnt erase their four Super Bowl losses (a few by beatdown). And the Bills were despite being the most consistently excellent team of the 1990s - really just lovable losers.

When the Patriots came along and won three Super Bowls in four years, going right through Pittsburgh (at Pittsburgh) in two conference championship games, Steelers and their fanbase lost their identity. Or at least the ability to indisputably claim the Steelers were the most important AFC franchise.

And when the Patriots got caught videotaping defensive signals after being asked (along with the rest of the league) to stop the practice, that relatively minor act (the major act was their defiance of the edict), Steelers fans had their hammer to discredit the Patriots legacy.

Had Pittsburgh won Sunday night, they would have basically matched what New England did from 2001 through 2004 winning three titles in a very short span.

But they didnt. Instead, they spit the bit in a very winnable game. Their very good quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, failed to cross the threshold into all-time greatness. Their amazing and admirable safety, Troy Polamalu, was a liability. The Steelers failed to beat a team that had lost important players on both offense (Donald Driver) and defense (Charles Woodson).

And now their hammer remains Spygate, instead of three rings for Roethlisberger and seven Lombardis for the franchise (including three from 2001-10 . . . same as the Pats).

They will use that hammer. This post-Super Bowl Monday, Ive been fielding irate e-mails from Steelers fans for saying Roethlisberger failed to achieve all-time greatness when the opportunity was laid out in front of him.

And failed in spectacularly inefficient fashion.

This assertion, apparently, is not made in a vacuum because the e-mails Ive gotten have usually included the words Spygate, Brady Cheating and expletive Belichick.

The reason?

Its not just about their Steelers. Its about their Steelers place in history. Same thing as the Patriots and their fans concerns.

And on this particular Monday, nothings changed for the Patriots. Given the alternative if Pittsburgh had won, that probably means a lot.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven


Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment


Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.


“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout."