I'm not understanding the Redman hate
This was the subject line of a comment from Steelchamps II in Thursday's training camp notes. Worldtrip explained that it isn't Redman hate, at all - just making fun of the over-the-top reaction of some of the BTSC denizens last fall. I thought that there was a bit more to say about this - there's a shock. So here goes, after the jump:
Clearly there are two Isaac Redmans (and I'm hoping there will be three eventually.) The first is the actual, real-live Isaac Redman, second-year NFL player, signed as an UFA. Most of my training camp comments are about the actual Redman. This Isaac Redman is someone that we are all hoping will develop into a monster RB for us.
Isaac Redman #2, the Isaac Redman that inspires such flights of eloquence from the likes of Johnny_S, is a creation of BTSC regulars. He would make a great action figure and/or protagonist of a superhero comic. He is, in short, a constant reminder that we as fans need to be wary of the sort of hubris that makes us think that we can make better personnel decisions than the coaching staff, based on considerably less data than said coaching staff uses. Why do we do this? Well, for lots of reasons.
It is always possible, of course, that the coaching staff can make a mistake about someone, and I expect that over the years they've made just enough mistakes to make fans think that they don't always know what they're doing. They don't have the advantage of hindsight, like we have, or omniscience, like Redman has - oh wait, I did it again! - but somehow we expect them to have both, and are seriously annoyed when they demonstrate any signs of human frailty. Any mistakes, real or perceived, that they make somehow give us permission to go on thinking we know more than they do
Then there's the underdog aspect. Part of the reason that we love James Harrison is not just that he is so good, but that he got there by a very circuitous route - UFA, cut multiple times, etc. It makes it all the sweeter that he is the great player he is, and that especially appeals to the blue-collar Steeler ethos. We all love these stories, and would love to see Isaac Redman as another UFA working through adversity success story.
Another reason that we get carried away over a player that we don't know enough about is the surging homerism and optimism that overtakes many of us at this time of the year. There's plenty of it around this year, after finishing 9-7 and having a string of personnel issues during the offseason. Coming off a superbowl with what seemed like relatively minor personnel changes last year, the optimism was so thick you could cut it with a knife. And so we thought that perhaps we were seeing the Second Coming of Jerome, based upon a couple of impressive runs in preseason games. Redman #2 helps to keep us a little humble.
And, of course, there is the fact that we don't want to be fooled again - fooled, I might add, by our own selves. Because in our hearts we all knew that if the real Isaac Redman was as good as we were imagining him to be, the coaches aren't stupid enough to release him and then keep him immured on the practice squad if he could be helping us to win games.
This Isaac Redman is, in short, a monument to our own hasty judgments, and we can disperse our embarrassment a bit by laughing at what we created.
And finally, there is Isaac Redman #3, the player that we hope he will become - the player that we will be able to tell our grandchildren that we watched when he was just knee-high to a grasshopper, metaphorically speaking. I think that we all hope that he will fulfill the flashes of potential that we saw last preseason and become a legend everywhere, not just on BTSC.
So just in case the real Isaac Redman reads these things, I hope that he understands that no part of Steeler Nation is hoping more that he will succeed than the brethren at BTSC. We look forward to cheering him at the Super Bowl victory parade downtown next February. Go Stillers!