Ever see that early 90s movie "Boomerang"? Eddie Murphy at the height of his powers, just classic. There's a scene where he's having lunch with David Alan Grier and Martin Lawrence at an upscale joint and the (white) waitress tells them a particular dish is served with asparagus spears. When she leaves them for a minute, we realize that Martin Lawrence has been greatly offended by the waitress, he feels this way because if the three of them were also white then the dish would have been served with asparagus TIPS, dammit.
Yeah, people who act like that can be pretty funny, those personalities who can and will see ulterior motives in almost any comment, even the innocent ones. The Martin Lawrence character, after all, believes that billiards is a racist activity in which the white ball knocks all the other colors off the green table (earth) and the game is not complete and victory is not won until the black ball has been vanquished. Hilarious, I have a few friends like this (maybe not quite as extreme). And while I can't profess to know all y'all on this kind of a personal basis, it does feel like a variation of this POV is common here.
Ask yourself if you honestly believe the league has singled the Pittsburgh Steelers organization out by:
- Intentionally engaging in a series of unfair fines against its player(s);
- Colluding with referees to ensure the Steelers get less favorable calls, presumably so Pittsburgh doesn't win as many games;
- Leaving out deserving Pittsburgh players from individual recognition, such as Pro Bowl awards.
Some of you will say yes to one or more of these questions, but for me the answers are easily no, no, and no. I could probably talk for hours about the reasons why, but they all boil down to this: I do not believe that the league is dumb enough to risk killing its golden goose by engaging in this kind of dishonesty, cheating, and conspiracy. The NFL is the king of pro sports and has been for a while now. Why on earth would the league do something that, if exposed, would effectively put the NFL on par with, oh, say pro wrestling? Call me naive if you want, but I am firmly convinced the league can put out a perfectly legitimate and untainted product out on the field and be wildly successful without having to secretly influence the results to the benefit (or detriment) of any particular team.
Because of that, I just can't accept the idea that the league conspires against the Steelers in any way. We might feel like the refs are shafting us on certain calls, but isn't that much more likely the result of an imperfect system that relies on fallible human perception that ultimately leads to bad calls and non-calls for all teams? Yeah, it sounds like I'm just stating the obvious, but you'd never guess it reading all of the us-against-the-refs, us-against-the-world, Goodell-hates-the-Steelers, conspiracy crap that pops up here after games, especially a loss. Hell, a couple of posts before this one we've got a fan who believes the league is trying to subvert or nominalize the Steelers organization by removing Hines' soundbite regarding the 18 game season in its most recent version. Yikes.
Final point: Do you realize what we look like to fans of other teams that come by to check out BTSC? What do longsuffering Bengals fans think about any woe-is-me sentiment on our board? Will a Seahawks fan really buy the idea that the league secretly works against Pittsburgh? If anything, we have less reason to complain about possible bias than the fans of any other team, precisely because our team has (arguably) acheived more success than any other.
Not wanting to ruffle any feathers here, I'm more than willing to discuss different ideas, and I love BTSC even if I don't post here a lot, I just think it does us good and makes us better if we avoid these kinds of justifications when things don't go our way.