When was the last time there was this level of excitement and expectation over
Steelers football in September? I, like a lot of you, tend to be deeply superstitious about making claims concerning team success so early in the season. Normally, I would be appalled at the level of attention and extravagant claims about this group. But these are extraordinary times. Developments in a small college town in
3-0 is nothing to sneeze at under the best of circumstances. To be 3-0 when the expectation was for the opposite; and to achieve that record in fairly dominant fashion is worthy of the excitement that has been generated. It is precisely because the consensus on this team is that its best days are ahead of it that it becomes almost impossible to not be bullish on what is to come in October and beyond. Obviously, there are absolutely no guarantees except for one; that if this team can avoid major injury issues it should be frighteningly competitive every time it takes the field for the remainder of the season. And when you get down to it as a fan, that’s all you can ask for.
The marketing narrative for the league has been nauseatingly familiar; the phantom dominance of a Cowboys team that has won one playoff game in a decade and a half, the heroics of an geriatric superstar who has won one championship in a decade and a half, the emergence of a new juggernaut in New Orleans, and the audacity of the Jets. The storyline for the Steelers this year was supposed to be the collapse of the team and the Rooney brand in a cesspool of disgust and scandal surrounding our alleged pervert quarterback. You can just about hear the editorials now; ‘This once proud and storied franchise, etc., etc.’ Well, these narratives, unsustainable for even one month, are teetering at the edge of collapse at this early stage of the season. Attention has turned to
Ravens week. They should find a permanent site to play this game. The field will be located in a low lying area, say beside a railroad trestle, surrounded by aging and abandoned factories or a shipyard. The field itself will have more broken glass than grass. The field and the grandstands lit by low wattage lights (the game should always be played at night) and shrouded by fog. The only children present would be those whose parents are either so irresponsible or inattentive to prevent them from being there. Fans attending singly or in small groups have to be on alert coming and going in order to not be set upon and beaten by larger groups of opposing fans. Periodically through the night an ambulance, lights flashing will take off into the darkness carrying players and/or fans to the ER. Steelers/Ravens, the faint of heart attend at your own risk.
The interesting thing about this game is that the expectations have completely flipped. When looking forward in the spring and summer we hoped that a win or two could be scratched out before we reached this point, and then we reassured ourselves that we would overcome the inevitable defeat at a later time. Guess what? This has become very close to a must win game for
4-0 going into the Bye, a very real possibility.
A message to Charlie’s fair weather friends. Yeah, we all love him now. From this point forward he’ll be known to me as Charlie "Lazarus" Batch. Lazarus as in back from the dead. Very little quarterback controversy these days. No problem with giving the old man another bite of the apple. In fact, I’m certain that if Sunday is another winning effort a knucklehead or two might suggest that he should just keep the job until there is some evidence that Ben could do things better. The majority opinion concerning Batch, held by his coach and the majority of Steeler Nation (at least as represented on this site) has been, if not forgotten, neatly swept under the proverbial rug. What matters is that things ended well, and all’s well that ends well right?
This would be a much more pleasant post if I just let the matter go, but I can’t. As Steelers fans we like to think of ourselves as more sophisticated than the average fan. And at BTSC we like to think that we’re a bit more level headed than many Steelers fans. So there is a learning, growing opportunity here that I will attempt to seize.
Let us be clear, it is
However, all Charlie wanted and what he certainly deserved given his years of service was a chance to be carried out on his shield rather than receiving a pat on the head and a gold watch as they shoved him out the door. Remember, when Ben was suspended Charlie was the number 2 quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was #2 in part because
Show of hands; who wants to vote Lazarus off the island now?