Saturday, August 20, 2011

Preseason: Steelers 24, Eagles 14

By Mike Batista

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin long ago coined the term "January football" to refer to the NFL playoffs.

Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, it isn't January. It's summer, and what went on Thursday night at Heinz Field was "August football."

That means it's preseason. It doesn't count. So despite the Steelers' domination of the Eagles, my opinion of the Eagles' "Dream Team" campaign hasn't changed either way, just as my opinion of how good the Steelers are doesn't change with this game.

Who's going to remember this game five years from now? Two years from now? Or even in November? When people talk about the greatest games and performances they've seen, preseason games don't come up.

My thoughts on the Eagles both before and after Thursday's game is that the "Dream Team" concept never works in the NFL. Just ask the Redskins. It damn near worked with the Miami Heat in the NBA. They were two wins away from a championship. But there are many more moving parts in football. Despite their loaded free agent shopping cart, I wouldn't book rooms in Indianapolis just yet if I were the Eagles.

One last opinion from Thursday's game. I think Tomlin should suspend Troy Polamalu for the rest of the preseason. I know Tomlin might be putting his job on the line, but for the sake of Polamalu's health, the Steelers might just have to risk a 1-3 preseason record.

Polamalu should have taken a knee and/or curled up in a fetal ball position after making that interception. Instead, he risked injury in a meaningless game with one of his patented zig-zag returns and got turned upside down my Michael Vick.

Considering his injuries the last couple of years, the sight of Polamalu's flowing locks on the field in August gives me ulcers. Does he really need to play in the preseason? I think he'll make the team.

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