Editorials

Steelers Fever – REAL Fantasy Football For The Bye Week

REAL Fantasy Football For The Bye Week – By Neal Coolong

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

You have to love bye weeks. It’s good to know players are resting up, getting some time to rest mentally and the coaches are preparing for the next challenge. However, it leaves me bored as hell. Yeah, I’ll watch San Diego and the Jets. I’ll even get a chance to laugh at Anti-Steelers-Friend Chuck when the Vikings get lambasted. I may even get to that exercise thing I was supposed to do. But technology is the enemy of physical fitness.

Since I have the 2001 AFC Championship loss burned into my head forever, and I still want Neil O’Donnell to be sent to the front lines of Fallujah, I’ve always wondered what might have been in those two seasons. Assuming the special teams nightmare didn’t happen at Heinz in 2001 and Neil O’Donnell didn’t continuously mistake black jerseys for white, we’re talking about two more Super Bowl titles. Two! Ummm…greatest franchise in football history without a doubt? Yeah, sounds nice…

But John Lennon says he’s a dreamer, and he isn’t the only one. This is where technology steps up to fill my quandaries. www.whatifsports.com is a web site dedicated to people like me. You can pit two teams of any year in the major American sports against each other in any stadium.

Naturally, I needed to see who would have won if these teams were to have played. We’re talking Dermontti Dawson going up against Joel Steed and Casey Hampton. Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress breaking through a secondary of Willie Williams, Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake and Darren Perry. Cowher vs. Cowher. I had to handicap it, putting the game at Three Rivers instead of Heinz. The AFC Champion has to host the game.

And here’s what it was, 2001 Steelers in white at 1995 Steelers in black. The results were a bit surprising. Kordell Stewart and O’Donnell only combined for one interception (Stewart’s, of course). The 1995 Steelers couldn’t run at all, but still held a three minute advantage in time of possession. It came down to possibly the greatest Steelers running back ever; Jerome Bettis. The Bus rolled for 81 yards and a touchdown, picking up MVP honors in 2001’s 22-12 win over the last AFC champion team in Pittsburgh.

Very much like the Super Bowl, O’Donnell was fairly consistent, but didn’t deliver the knockout punch when his team needed it. Erric Pegram was essentially a non-factor on the ground, and basically, the 2001 squad really handled its 1995 counterpart. Damn Patriots.

I’m just hoping that perhaps I can go back to www.whatifsports.com next season during Pittsburgh’s bye week and put the 2004 Steelers up against the 1978 Steelers. There’s a thought…

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