Tuesday 4 December 2007

The Steel Curtain

When it comes to team sports I have to admit I'm a BIG fan of solid defences. I love the organisation and structure allied to the controlled aggression and overall meanness of a good, aggressive defensive unit. The refusal to submit, to never give an inch and more, to make your opponent regret even trying. In almost every sport defensive players are the enforcers, the biggest, ugliest fuckers on the squad that you simply do not mess with. There is a degree of sadistic satisfaction that comes with some poncy forward/back/offensive (football/rugby/yank football) player getting his deserved comeuppance for his impudence in attack. I like to think of an attacking player as a lamb, a wee lamb being mercilessly pursued and cut down by a pack of wolves. Like a pack of wolves every defence needs a leader, a general to orchestrate and lead his charges, preferably by example. When it all comes together A rock solid defence (contrary to what others may think) is simply the greatest spectacle to watch on tv.

And what's better than a rock solid defence? One with a damn fine nickname. The "Steel Curtain" was the affectionate term used to describe the Pittsburgh Steelers defence of the 1970s, arguably the most dominate defensive unit in NFL history. In 1976 this defence was at its peak. With the Steelers opening the season 1-4 and losing their starting QB, the defence carried the franchise through the rest of the year. Led by MLB Jack Lambert (pictured above and video below) They allowed a frankly ridiculous 2 touchdowns in the next nine games. Eight of the '76 curtain made Pro Bowl that year with Lambert named defensive MVP for the entire league in recognition of his inspirational leadership.

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