Be Careful What You Wish For …

That expression brings back memories of times spent in Pittsburgh with my Grandfather. The words of warning, that didn't seem to mean much growing up, started to make sense with the departure of Kordell Stewart. <br><br> Many Steeler faithful wished and prayed for the day Kordell would no longer wear the black and gold. Should they have been more careful?

Kordell Stewart was acquired by Pittsburgh in the 2nd round of the 1995 draft. His versatility and gimmick plays earned him the nickname Slash by head coach Bill Cowher. In 1997 he was named the starting quarterback, giving Steeler fans reason to cheer and leaving rivals stunned. But the memory of Kordell Stewart will be bittersweet to most of us. His speed and mobility couldn't overcome his inconsistencies. His career in Pittsburgh was as rocky and twisted as the hills and roads throughout the town. The dreams of him leading the Steelers to a fifth championship are left unfulfilled as Kordell, released by Pittsburgh, heads to Chicago to continue his career as a Bear.

We now pin our hopes on his replacement, Tommy Maddox, who took over the starting position after two and a half rough outings by Kordell, the teams former MVP.

Tommy Maddox was Denver's 1st round draft pick in 1992, and like Kordell, has had his share of ups and downs. His playing time was limited and gave reason to doubt he would ever be anything more than a gifted college athlete. After warming the benches in Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Minnesota, Tommy left football seemingly for good.

The college football player, turned insurance man, found he still had a thirst for the game. He quenched that thirst by becoming a quarterback in the arena league for the New Jersey Red Dogs. The following season Tommy was called upon by the XFL, and was given the honor of becoming the only player to receive an MVP award in that short lived league. The Steelers looking to find a third string quarterback, replied to a letter that Tommy Maddox sent requesting an interview.

Tommy's years of experience, confidence and aggressive play brought an onslaught of cheers and renewed hope to the fans. He wasn't Slash by a long shot, but he was the "come back kid."

And for now at least he is the darling of Pittsburgh, with his confidence under pressure and his natural leadership abilities, Tommy gave the fans a reason to believe, if we stood by him, anything was possible.

His presence on the field was by most accounts a refreshing change from the often entertaining, yet unpredictable Kordell Stewart.

Tommy is everything the fans, the media, and the Steeler organization had been hoping, waiting and praying for. He is the quarterback that will lead this talented Steeler team down the path to victory.

So why do I have this feeling in my gut that something just ain't right?

Maybe it's the barbequed ribs I had for dinner, or the Iron City beer I washed it down with, but I just can't seem to shake this unsettling sense of déjà vu.

As the season progresses, the whispers might turn to roars, and wishes for Slash may start to trickle down from even his worst critics.

The bench won't have the depth it had last season, or the luxury of turning to an experienced quarterback who was still viewed as a threat by the Steelers' opposition.

Was Tommy's fairy tale season more mystical because Kordell could be called upon to change things up? Did he look that much better because Kordell looked that much worse?

These are questions the season opener should answer for us. The reason for slow and poor starts has been all but eliminated in the eyes of the fans.

I am just not sure that the draft acquisitions and Tommy's arm will make the road to the Super Bowl any less rocky.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope its just indigestion.

I hope this increased passing, decreased running game will be the beginning of a new era in Steeler history. One that will give our charismatic, sure-armed quarterback the opportunity to lead the Steelers, cheered on by the fans, a story book ending.

A happily-ever-after that will put an end to the fear of wishing for something you just might get.

Amy Antion

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