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Grr. I'd rather write about the quietly stellar season Phillip Rivers is having, but let me get this out of the way before things deteriorate any further. Since we could just be at the edge of the precipice leading to a late season meltdown, thngs could get much uglier in the near future. Hopefully not. Not sure if you read other blogs, but most editors/moderators rule with a much tighter iron fist than me. While moderating the ever growing volume of voices weighing in, I'm of the laissez-faire hands off approach to letting the market (in this instance, individuals and how they're treated by the community) correct itself. So far so good for 3 plus years deploying that approach. I don't want to have to have a change in philosophy. Don't make me y'all. Please. Anyway..there's more after the fold. I could probably end here because I know the message is plain, but if you so choose...
There are varying views on the degree to which QB Ben Roethlisberger is struggling lately. That's good healthy debate. But after some reflection at the end of this contentious day, I decided I unfortunately had to say a few words about feeling strongly about something vs. going overboard in a crusade to try to hammer that point home with others.
I feel dirty even saying such a thing, but It's just that if you want to do nothing but fixate on a particular negative aspect of the team, there are better venues to do so. Seriously, there's a plethora of Steelers blogs and message boards out there. Without naming names, I can confidently say that at least one or two are delineated by non-stop vitriol and disgust with anything and everything. For some people, that's their comfort zone. That's fine. We all turn to the Steelers, the internet, and entertainment in general, for different reasons. Like taste in music, food or women/men, nobody's reasons for how and why they seek diversion are superior. Totally the way it should be and thankfully in today's information and social media age, there's literally something for everyone.
It's not what BTSC is all about though.
For the record, I've thoroughly enjoyed a number of y'alls takes on why Ben needs to sit for a few weeks, and I've enjoyed some opinions on Arians, the OLine, Zeirlein, Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, and on and on. Some posts are more opinion-centric than fact based, but so too are some of mine, and just about every last fanpost has added something to the site. And I hate to name names, but even beerman has had a few moments where he's taken the time to back up his beliefs and make some good points. So basically, even in the toughest of stretches to follow this team, I know it can be done. The right blend of disagreement, passion, etc can be achieved.
The reason I'll make an effort to occassionally write y'all to say thanks for all your help is because I can't count the number of times I've gotten emails from Steelers fans, as well as fans of other teams, praising BTSC for being the most even-handed community they've encountered, with a healthy amount of information and entertainment sprinkled in. I think it's important to note that we try to find the right balance of loyalty and realistic analysis, but come on, this is a freaking fan site, and the last time I checked, being a fan of this franchise puts us in pretty lucky and elite company with a select few other fanbases.
So while I'm fine frustrated outbursts like 'Player X is playing like _____lately', I'm just not so sure I'm cool with 'Player X is a sack of _____, always has been, always will be'. Unless Player X = Ricardo Colclough, the sentiment is too excessive and only leads to tension and bickering amongst what should be a largely unified contingent of football fans. I don't care about Player X's feelings if I knew they happened to be reading. They're grown men with lots of money in the bank. Don't want to hear that retort. It's just that Tom Donahoe and Kevin Colbert and the Rooneys have kept our cupboards fairly stacked for decades and decades. Any player that's been kept around for any prolonged period of time has shown promise in practice and during games to warrant wearing the Black and Gold. It's never all negatives, nor is it ever all positives for any given player or coach.
Frankly, self-regulation has gotten out of hand here, and it's not just any one person this week. We're just another venemous message board right now. Not acceptable.
It's mostly just us here doing our thing, but as was confirmed by none other than the legendary Art Rooney Jr. himself in a recent interview here on the site, there are others who we don't know about watching and judging our discourse and interaction. Some of those eyes are even coming from the North Side headquarters, not to mention from the venture capital firms and individual investors that have bet their own money on BTSC and other SBNation sites to rise above the nonsense that limits the long-term viability of most blogs and message boards. I personally have worked too hard to build this site from absolute scratch. Scores of y'all from ages 16 ( ? High School Steeler, can you drive?) to age 60+ have also played a long-standing role in building and maintaining a brand for the site as thoughtful, even-handed, kind, welcoming to outsiders and offering different opinions, etc. All of that collective effort is why a man of Art Rooney Jr.'s prestige and importance would be willing to take a few moments to speak to us. That flat out doesn't happen if he and others had made their initial impressions of us from this past several days.
Last thing. It's important that BTSC remains a place where one can vent on Sundays and Mondays. Hell, maybe even Tuesdays. And by vent, I don't mean a long fanpost with well thought out sentences and facts to support a frustrated feeling. I'm talking about a place where you can go bonkers really if that's what you need to do to get it off your chest and prepare for the new week of work, family, friends, etc. There was plenty of it on Sunday night and I was cool with it. It usually gets bumped off the main page by the next day, so I don't mind, and I respect how some just want to drop a couple dozen F bombs after a tough loss.
In fact, I got an email from a reader on Monday thanking me for letting him blow off steam here after the game. I'll be honest when I say I was a bit disappointed in some of the excessively reactionary things that this reader had posted, and I wasn't thrilled with so much profanity from not just him, but many of us. But it was confined to a few hours where he felt the need to get it out of his system. Nothing since, yet I am nearly 100% confident that he's been lurking around the site. And he's not a one-trick pony either. His comments and contributions have run the full gamut of emotions.
I think we all get it. Vent. Be frustrated. Yell, curse, do whatever on gamedays. Pine over it the next day with still a frustrated and hopeless outlook. But no longer will we have singular missions to lambast players or coaches in this organization if they are not breaking the law or are giving it their all yet falling short in their performance. In other words, not to individuals who aren't selfishly bringing the team down with them repeatedly. The correct long term personnel choices will be made with this football team, from top to bottom, coaches to players. They have been during nearly 100% of the franchise's history, and they will continue to be made wisely moving forward.
Remember, we're supposedly "thoughtful discussion, with a sense of history." Not lately we're not. But I'm confident we'll get things right and again find the right equilibrium of healthy debate. And I know there can be room for all of us, from the never wavering kumbaya types to the most opinionated of naysayers. Come on. Let's buck this lame ass trend, see where the chips fall the next two months, then reasses the state of the roster and coaching staff this offseason in what I know will be very passionate, entertaining, and informative debates while we await free agency, the draft, training camp, and then finally, another year of Steelers football.
Time to open our minds a bit wider..all of us..and start fresh. We're as sad as our fourth quarter performances against the Giants and Colts lately.
In the words of datruth4life (who likely hasn't joined us with his nuts and bolts approach to the roster because of all the distracting bickering)...
Be blessed Steelers Nation!