By Weston Mills (@wmills94)
Week 6 Preview: Chiefs v. Steelers
When: October 15, 2017 at 3:25 p.m. (CST)
Where: Arrowhead Stadium
This week’s TWC is going be just a little different from typical content in the weeks past. As the Chiefs are set for a re-match of the 2016 playoff loss to the Steelers *sigh*, I had the opportunity to chat with Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman B.J. Finney. B.J. has started 4 games in his career for the Steelers and also serves as the teams interior swing lineman (he can play both guard positions and center). He talked with me about his draft day experience, Arrowhead Stadium, and if there is anything James Harrison cannot lift (spoiler: the answer is no). Enjoy!
[Weston] So let’s start with draft day 2015, if I remember right you went undrafted but you got a call right after the draft, is that how that went down?
[B.J.] So as the 6th and 7th rounds were going on, I was getting phone calls from different team just saying that they were going to try and take me and that they were interested and that if they weren’t able take me they wanted to sign me as an undrafted free agent. So even while the draft was going on my phone was still going off…
…I told [my agent], after I got my phone call from Pittsburgh, I said hey we have all these teams but Pittsburgh is on the table so its that one versus whichever other one you feel like could be the best and we will talk about when you can get all the information. [My agent] said remind me again why you are so adamant about Pittsburgh. I told him I was a die hard fan…
…He called me back like three minutes later and said ‘they didn’t even negotiate I said the number and they said OK.’ He said ‘congratulations you’re a Pittsburgh Steeler.’ So that was how draft day went down.
Man, what was that experience like? When you actually heard those words, what was going through your mind?
Honestly, The first thing I did was give thanks to God. I was away from my family. I had snuck out of the room. I was on the phone, obviously with my agent, and when I hung up the phone the first thing I did was pray. You know of all the teams to be able to go on, I get to go on a team that was my childhood dream team. I mean, they were IT watching all those guys; and knowing the story of the franchise; being my dad’s team as well.”
So you sign with the Steelers, what is the biggest thing you noticed adjusting from college to the pros?
The speed, everything was a thousand times faster. When you don’t quite know the playbook and you’re out there barely treading water and then you throw yourself into a practice and having to compete with the guys we have on our defense… it literally left my head spinning. We have great older guys that understand and coaches that understand where you are at. They do everything they can to help. Coach Tomlin always says they are a service oriented group and to just ask. I was a guy that took advantage of it.
Ok so I’ll be honest I think Mike Tomlin is terrifying, what is he like to play for?
He is awesome. He’s a players coach. He doesn’t sugar coat things. He doesn’t try and hide anything. He doesn’t have a personal agenda. He lays everything out on the table. He is very straight forward and says this is what we want do…
…He’s an awesome coach to play for. He lays it all out there and as athletes you want that.
I would imagine he is just a little bit different than your coach at K-State Bill Snyder?
Honestly, I would say [Tomlin] is a modern Coach Snyder, to be completely honest. There are little things they do different. But in terms of the style of coaching and being straight forward as much as they can with you and not hiding anything (always being available to you), he is a lot like Coach Snyder in that aspect.
Alright, it pains me to even bring it up but I want to ask you about the playoff game last year against the Chiefs. What was it like to play in Arrowhead Stadium?
It was crazy, it was everything it had been built to be. The place was just rampant with energy. People were foaming at the mouth as Chiefs fans, they were pumped and ready to go. It was a hostile environment. I would have rather been in Pittsburgh but that wasn’t the case. [laughs] Our road to what we were chasing happen to go through Kansas City so we knew it was going to be a tough test, and it obviously was, but we were able to get by.
OK, so you are back in Arrowhead this Sunday against Kansas City, what stands out about their defense?
They have been playing extremely well, the guys have been making plays. All across the board, its not just been one play-maker it been the defense as a whole making plays. They have been getting the ball for the offense. They have been showing that they are gelling ad playing well together so we have to go in and play better?
I have to go back to the playoff game real quick, as on offensive lineman, do you think Eric Fisher should of been called for holding on James Harrison?
Do you think you would have been called for holding there?
Absolutely, anybody in the NFL knows that was a holding call. That is a move James Harrison has perfected. This is his 16th season, you don’t hear of that anymore. If you get a guy that goes over 12… wow. I think he attended his 20th high school reunion last year, that’s how long he has been playing the game. He has perfected that move that he put on Fisher. You know, its almost impossible to block when he gets it. There is nothing that you can really do. I mean he does that to our tackles all the time and there is nothing they can do its like a turnstile. When you do try and fight you get called for holding.
While we are on the subject of James Harrison, is there any object that Harrison can’t lift?
I have yet to see one.
Ok I have a few rapid fire questions for you:
Probably Antonio Brown.
Taught you the most (teammate)?
I’ve been taught a lot by a lot of different guys. Ramon Foster. Maurkice Pouncey.
Go to pre-game song?
Human Beings by Van Halen.
Whatever I can get my hands on.
Toughest guy you’ve ever had to block, not on the Steelers?
Toughest guy you’ve had to block from the Chiefs?
95, is Jones right? Yeah, he gave me a few interesting plays last year.
Last question, as a married man do you have any advice for a soon to be married man?
The best advice I can give is not bringing home to work or work to home. I got it from my college coach and it really helped me out.
BJ, this has been a lot of fun man. I really appreciate you taking the time!
*I seriously can’t thank B.J. enough for taking some time to chat. I also want to thank the Steelers organization, as Finney had to get approval to do this interview. (I think its time The Dive 35 gets their press credentials.)
LET’S GO CHIIIIIIIEEEEEFFFFFFSSSSS!!!!
Former Defensive End. Current Attorney. Sometimes NFL Contributor for The Dive 35.