Well, the 2011 NFL season is almost upon us. Unfortunately for Steelers fans, that means being subjected to all the national NFL broadcasters who love nothing more than to rip the Steelers. You know they hate the Steelers. I know they hate the Steelers. It's obvious every time they voice their opinions about our favorite team. Beings that they're national types, they pretend to be unbiased, but hidden underneath those three-piece suits is nothing but boiling hate for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I know this is true because my friends tell me about it after every Steelers broadcast that doesn't involve Bob Pompeani, Edmund Nelson, or Tunch Ilkin. "I cannot stand (insert national announcer here). He's always overly-critical of the Steelers. It's like he's rooting for the other team to win! And not one 'Double Yoi!' the whole game!"
It's bad enough the commissioner is out to get the Steelers, but the national media, too? That's a bit much to take, even for tough-minded Steelers fans.
I don't know why the national talking-heads hate the Pittsburgh Steelers so much, but I do have my theories about some of them.
Well, Theismann hates everyone, but I think the reason he hates the Steelers so much is because Pittsburgh got blown-out in the 1983 Divisional playoffs by the Los Angeles Raiders. Had Cliff Stoudt somehow been able to navigate the Steelers through the playoffs and into Super Bowl XXVIII, Theismann may have had an actual shot at winning a Super Bowl following a 16 game regular season. Instead, he will forever be known as the Super Bowl winning quarterback of the team that only had to play nine regular-season games. This enduring reality probably keeps Joe up many nights, and now he has it in for the Steelers and sticks it to them every time he's on tv or radio. Thanks a lot, Cliff Stoudt.
Yes, he hates the Steelers. I mean, when was the last time the Swammy picked Pittsburgh? And I know why. It's that fan at Heinz Field that's always bringing that "Psycho" Ward banner to the home games. Everyone knows Berman holds the copyright for the "cute play on NFL player names" schtick. Andre "Bad Moon" Rison, anyone? Nobody circles the wagon on player nicknames better than Chris Berman. Unfortunately, you can't get any better than "Psycho" Ward. Thanks to that fan at Heinz Field, Berman can't credit himself with being the person who came up with that. Now he has to settle for scraps like Hines "Montgomery" Ward or whatever. The only way Berman will stop hating-on the Steelers is if that fan who displays the "Psycho" Ward sign either takes it down or pays Berman royalties (a copyright is a copyright). Only then will the Swammy start picking the Steelers to win.
There's no doubt Sharpe hates the Steelers. You just watch the CBS pre-game show this week. I'll bet you he picks the Ravens to beat Pittsburgh. Why all the hate for the Steelers, you say? You may remember an NFL films clip from a game involving the Broncos and Patriots all the way back in the mid-90's. The Broncos were crushing New England in Foxboro and during the blow-out, Sharpe "called" the President on a sideline phone and cleverly asked him to summon help for the local team. Get it? Patriots. Paul Revere-type stuff. It was so clever and timely. Haha, Shannon. They showed that clip for years, and it helped people realize Shannon was more than just "Sterling's kid brother." He was sort of funny, maybe. Unfortunately for Sharpe, just a few years later, the underdog Patriots knocked-off the Steelers in the AFC Championship game on the way to their first of three Super Bowl trophies. Suddenly, the Patriots were a dynasty and that funny clip was rarely played again. Now Sharpe is just known as one of those guys that won a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer. Sharpe holds the Steelers responsible for this. That, plus, he has to share a studio with Boomer Esiason. That would make anyone lash-out.
Bradshaw hates the Steelers? Why would the quarterback of the greatest dynasty of all-time hate his former team? Well, what day is today? Wednesday? Check back tomorrow. Terry may feel differently. You just never know with the Blonde Bomber.
This one is pretty easy. The Steelers have always personified hard-hitting football, and Deion never met a tackle he wanted to make. In-fact, rumor has it that sometime back in the 90's, when Sanders was shopping his services in the free agent market, he visited the Steelers and talked to them about maybe joining their proud franchise. During the interview, the Steelers coaches asked Sanders what his approach would be in run-support. Sanders responded: "Run-support? I don't understand the question." Needless to say, the Steelers weren't interested, and Neon Deion has held a grudge ever since.
It's obvious that Simms hates the Steelers. Why do you hate the Steelers, Phil? You clearly do not root for them to win when you broadcast Steelers games. What's that about? Actually, I understand this one. Phil Simms had to play for Bill Parcells. That's like a dog being owned by someone who likes to kick a lot. Having Parcells as a coach would sour anyone's disposition. Naturally, Simms would show the most hate for a team that has had the fortune of being led by guys named Noll, Cowher, and Tomlin.
Madden may be retired, but I haven't forgotten about his anti-Steelers bias. There are many reasons why the former coach of the Oakland Raiders would hate the Steelers, but I think the main reason can be traced back to December 23rd, 1972. In football, there are football players and there are footballs. A lot of times in football, a football player will be running with a football, and a lot of times, he carries the football into the end zone. Now, when a football player running with a football takes that football into the end zone, boom! It's a touchdown. That's football, right there. However, after Jack Tatum.....I mean, Frenchy Fuqua deflected that football to Franco Harris and he ran it into the end zone on that fateful day some 39 years ago, there was no call. The officials didn't know what to call. Was it a legal play? There was a football player who carried a football into the end zone, but there was no touchdown signaled right away. That's not football, right there. Madden knows what football is and what it isn't, and now we know why he really hates the Steelers. If only those officials would have signaled an illegal play.....whoops, I mean, a touchdown right away, Madden wouldn't have so much hate for the Steelers today.
Man, so much Steeler hate from this man. Why, Cris? What's the deal? Well, to be fair, Collinsworth has worked with both Bradshaw and Madden during his broadcasting career. After years of being the butt of Bradshaw's jokes while at FOX and listening to Madden complain about the "Immaculate Reception" while at NBC, it's no wonder Collinsworth shows so much disdain for the Steelers. That, plus he once had to share a huddle with Boomer Esiason.
Bill Cowher hates the Steelers? No way! Yes, it's true. I don't have any theories as to why Cowher hates the Steelers, but I know he does. You know how I know this? He rang that stupid bell in Carolina before game four of the 2009 Eastern Conference finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes. A man from Pittsburgh actually rooting for a team that's not from Pittsburgh? How can you do that, Chin? You're from Crafton! You grew up here, you coached here, and you have the nerve to move to another state and root for their hockey team? You either like all the Pittsburgh sports teams, or you hate them all, Bill. It's just a matter of time before you show-up at a Steelers/Browns game wearing a dog mask.
Well, there you have it. Just a portion of the national media and reasons why I think they hate the Steelers. Sorry I couldn't cover all the Steelers haters. That would take forever.
I hope Pittsburgh fans are able to endure another season filled with so much anti-Steelers venom from these national clowns. My advice would be to turn the sound down on the television and listen to Billy, Tunch and Wolf on the radio. They are always fair and balanced.
If you're unable to do that, just remember: Sometimes, Haters gonna hate.