Tomorrow night, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are facing off in prime time. All week there have been reports that Le'Veon Bell hasn't been practicing and probably won't play. That's awful because even though the Stillers have All-World receiver Antonio Brown and All-Pro Sports accused rapist Ben Roethlisberger on the roster, they would still prefer to run the ball a gazillion times and trust a defense that hasn't been good since their last trip to the Super Bowl.
With that in mind, Pittsburgh has signed Ben Tate (Remember him? The Browns gave him $6.2 million over two years in the off-season before releasing him after six games). Which makes sense if you use one, and only one, argument: The Steelers released LeGarette Blount after a disappointing start of the season only to see him get swooped up by the Patriots and instantly be good again. Why not try to be the Patriots in that scenario instead of the Steelers? That makes perfect sense to people who still want to see Obama's birth certificate/video and no one else. Ben Tate was pretty solid as a back-up under Gary Kubiak (formerly of the Texans, now the Ravens' Offensive Coordinator - are they trying to make him jealous? I take it back, there are two arguments that support their decision to sign Ben Tate).
Regardless of how you feel about those arguments, the Steelers fucked up. The best running back for this exact situation was available (and has only been cut by one team this season as opposed to Tate who was cut by two teams) and happens to have a bone to pick with the Baltimore Ravens. Ray Rice. Due to the recent Internet outrage over police tactics, America has once again forgotten about domestic violence. Just in time for the playoffs.
Revenge Games are a thing. They happen all the time. This season our Fantasy Football league had a double-whammy Revenge Game. After Week 1, I traded Fraturday Steve Smith (Sr.) for Torrey Smith and Jason Witten. This was a stupid trade for me to make because not only was Steve Smith heading to Carolina for a showdown with his old team in Week 4, it just so happened that I was playing Fraturday in fantasy that week. Steve Smith went off for 139 yards and 2 TDs. Both Carolina and my team that went on to win the league championship lost that week. And that was just a regular season game.
Now imagine a player going up against their old team in a playoff game after being unceremoniously cut when he had been told he wouldn't be. That has the potential to be the greatest football game of all time. The tongue waggers at ESPN must be furious that they don't have the opportunity to spill hot sport takes all over this signing and the aftermath of the game. Either the Steelers win and everyone is outraged over seeing a wife beater succeed professionally or the Steelers lose and everyone hops on their high horse about how you can't win without high character guys in the locker room. Regardless of outcome, the comment sections of every sports site will explode with strong opinions that are backed up by half-remembered stats and incorrect statements.
Instead, best case Mike Tomlin has been punking us and Le'Veon can totally play and it's a normal NFL Playoff game. Every other case involves the weather being so shitty that no one can complete a pass and we get to watch three hours of fat guys pushing each other around in the mud while the running backs rush 65 times total for an average of 2 yards per carry.
If NFL games were aired on TNT, you know the Steelers would have signed Ray Rice. Because they love drama. But instead it's on NBC which loves retread stars that weren't even that good in the first place getting another shot to fail spectacularly.