It's Not Over Until We Say So - By Marc Simon

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Remember the great John Belushi speech in the movie Animal House?

The situation is grim for the Deltas. They're already on double secret probation. Their fraternity charter has been revoked, thanks to their insane toga party. As they sit in their busted up living room bemoaning their fate, one of the fraternity brothers says that it's all over for Delta House. John Belushi, as "Bluto" leaps to his feet and yells, "Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" Despite the historical inaccuracy, Bluto's speech rallies the Deltas to action, and they triumph (sort of) in the end.

The Steelers might benefit from a speech like that right now. Their season isn't exactly on double secret probation, but it has two strikes against it.

It's not the Steelers record that's makes the current situation so troubling. Lots of teams have come back from 1-3 starts to make the playoffs. In fact, since 1990, 19 teams have started 1-3 and reached the playoffs, including the Bears last season and the Steelers in 2002. Even five teams that started 1-4 since 1990 have made the playoffs.

The problem is that after four games, the Steelers have yet to play a good one. True, they beat the Dolphins on opening night, but it took a fourth quarter 87-yard pass and run and a Nick Saban brain lock to seal the deal. The next week, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 2006 maiden voyage, they got their heads handed to them by the Jacksonville Jaguars. They bumbled the game away against the Bengals, with Ben once again doing his share of the bumbling. And against San Diego, they got out-hit and out-quarterbacked.

While the defense has played well most of the season, they've had their share of lapses. It was particularly frustrating that they couldn't get off the field against the Chargers in the second half. They allowed four second-half scores, including drives of 91, 63 and 54 yards. Very un-Steelerlike.

Back to Ben. You have to wonder what's wrong with him. Some say it's post-concussive syndrome that's causing his questionable decision making. Others think it's a leaky offensive line-did you see Chargers nose tackle Jamal Williams toss around center Jeff Hartings and guards Kendall Simmons and Alan Faneca as if they were beanbags? Whatever it is, Ben simply is not Ben. Not by a long shot.

And you have to wonder if there's something distracting Coach Bill Cowher. He had a faraway look in his eyes last Sunday night, as if he were, to quote James Taylor, gone to Carolina in his mind. You wished the jaw was jutting and the spit was flying, but all we got was a glazed-over stare.

Evidently, Cowher feels that the time is now to batten down the hatches, stay the course and go full -speed ahead to get the good ship Steelers back on course. He called the team together Monday afternoon for a state-of-the-season meeting. Maybe they should have had a toga party. It wouldn't have been such a bad idea. At least it would have lightened things up. Remember, the season isn't over until we say it's over.