Some of the best advice I've ever received was to recognize a runaway train when you see it.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are facing a large runaway train -- the NFL -- as the league continues to put stiffer penalties on big hits. Whether the Steelers agree with it or not, the league is gradually getting softer and rolling toward more offense and higher scoring. That train has been full-steam ahead for several years, and it's time for the Steelers to (grudgingly) hop on board.
For the past year, the Steelers have voiced their displeasure with the NFL through the media and via Twitter. Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison, who was the league's most-fined player in 2010, called the people making these decisions "idiots."
Frustration is understandable. But failure to adjust is not.
Unless Harrison wants to continue shelling out $100,000 or more each season, he will need to comply with the NFL's new standards. The same goes for the Steelers, who have won the most Super Bowls in NFL history (six) with brutally physical defenses that battered and intimidated opponents. But those days are disappearing with every rule change, fine and suspension.
Longtime readers of the AFC North blog know I love tough, hard-hitting defense as much as anyone. I also disagree with many of the changes being made to further assist the offense. But I can see the bright lights of this runaway train coming fast, and it's time to stop holding onto the old NFL and (grudgingly) accept the changes.
More importantly, it's time for the Steelers to see that train coming, as well, and hop on it next season. If not, the NFL -- via fines, penalties and suspensions -- will surely run them over.