My job requires me to work Sundays on an average of one time a month. Not bad, I suppose. Of course, it sucks during football season, especially when both of my bosses go to a lot of games and request that I work an extra Sunday or two; chances are, when the Steelers are playing a 1pm game at Heinz Field, it's a pretty safe bet that I'll be working.
In past years, I would tune the game in on the radio at work. That wasn't too bad. I would listen to Billy, Tunch and Wolf describe every detail of the action while I went about performing my duties, and I wasn't very distracted.
Last season, however, my boss made the mistake of putting a television in the office. It was a whole new ballgame for me.
While radio guys like Bill Hillgrove describe everything in great detail, television broadcasters usually let the live action do most of the talking, and rightfully so. Why describe something that we are already seeing for ourselves?
That's why you'll often hear television broadcasters like Al Michaels call plays this way: "He was a quarterback in college and now he's thrown a touchdown in the Super Bowl."
That's a fine description if you're sitting in front of the television watching the action, but if you're busy working, well, it can turn a person into a very bad supervisor.
There were a lot of close Steelers games in 2010, and most of the really intense battles happened during my Sunday workdays.
There was the week one game against the Falcons when Dennis Dixon started for the suspended Ben Roethlisberger--my first workday Steelers game with the new office television. The contest was a nail-biter that Pittsburgh had to pull out in overtime. I kept neglecting my duties all day because everytime I heard the crowd roar, I had to stop what I was doing and run to the television. Remember, tv calls like "he was a quarterback in college and now he's thrown a touchdown in the Super Bowl" are very confusing if you're not seeing the action.
There was the 2010 version of the Ravens last-second victory at Heinz Field where Joe Flacco hit TJ Houshmandzadeh with the game-winner and Ray Lewis picked off a Charlie Batch last-ditch pass with seconds remaining. Boy was I angry that day. I'm surprised I didn't make people stay late and do extra work.
Heck, even the 35-3 blow-out of the Raiders was pretty annoying to watch while at work. That was the game where Richard Seymour decked Roethlisberger for apparently no reason, the Steelers had something like 160 yards in penalties called against them, and Ike Taylor had a pick six that was so rare, the officials decided to nullify it by calling James Harrison for maybe the worst roughing the passer penalty in the history of the NFL, CFL, USFL and even the WFL.
And, then, of course, there was that exciting playoff win vs. the Ravens in January. No, it wasn't a Sunday, but I ALWAYS work on Saturdays, and the first two quarters overlapped with the last two hours of work. As you may remember, it was a tale of two halves. Unfortunately, for my nerves, the crappy half was played while I worked. I'm surprised that tv was still in one piece after Shaun Suisham missed a field goal to end a miserable first half that saw the Steelers head to the locker room trailing, 21-7.
That brings me to the 2011 season. There has been much talk about how many close games the team has played in recent years (no kidding, Tony. You've been basing most of your recent posts on that subject), but, for whatever reason, every Steelers lopsided victory has occurred on the Sundays that I had to work.
There was the 24-0 victory over the Seahawks a week after the Steelers lost the season-opener in Baltimore, 35-7, and we were all on edge wondering what would become of the season.
There was the 38-17 pasting of the Titans in week 5 seven days after the Steelers were outclassed by the Texans.
And, finally, the 35-7 demolition of the Bengals this past Sunday a week after that little scare against the Chiefs.
That's a combined score of 97-24 in games played on the Sundays that I've had to work this season. Thank you, Steelers. Thank you for allowing me to tend to my duties and not have to blurt out stuff like "what the f***, refs!" in front of people who may not be familiar with "Tony, the crazed Steelers fan."
Yes, there has been no swearing, and unlike last year, I'm at rest on Sundays.....even though I'm at work.