The Steelers season is almost upon us (just 31 hours away as of this writing—negative 10 hours if it’s Tuesday and you’re reading this). Even though the 2016 campaign is a mere embryo, I’m tickled to already have read so many familiar quotes that can only mean real Steelers fan are talking about real football!
Below are the top 10 quotes you’re likely to read or hear this upcoming season (in no particular order, so please, no wagering):
1: “We’ll be fine!”
Unfortunately, I’ve already read this more than one time, and that’s because receiver Markus Wheaton is going to miss Monday night’s clash with the Redskins due to a shoulder injury that didn’t seem too serious at first, but evidently was since he didn’t practice all last week.
Sadly, this is just some more piling on for an offense that was already missing Martavis Bryant, Le’Veon Bell and Ladarius Green heading into Week 1.
If you read a lot of “We’ll be fine”s Tuesday morning, well, you know what that means...And you can expect to read “We’ll be fine” any time the Steelers face some adversity in 2016 (even if that adversity is an 0-9 start).
2: “What’s with all the negativity?”
If you read the Wheaton BTSC article posted above, you’ll already find that quote and other variations of it scattered about the comments section. This means Steelers fans are in mid-season form. I figured I could get a negative article or two out of my system before I had to really worry about backlash (after all, you don’t usually know what kind of readers you have until Week 4), but with fans questioning the negative attitudes of other fans already? Wow! Every week’s going to be like the Super Bowl.
3: “Tomlin didn’t have this team prepared to play!”
I know what you’re going to say: “That quote’s not going be uttered or written one time in 2016, because Pittsburgh is going 19-0!” I agree, but if you’re really honest with yourself, you know you’ll be screaming that quote like 17 seconds after the start of most games. Therefore, even during a season in-which the Steelers will no doubt end the 44-year drought of undefeated and untied world champions, there will be at least 15 games in-which the head coach didn’t have his troops ready to play. Why aren’t they going to be ready? Tomlin took the players bowling in July when they should have been participating at their seventh OTA. Grrrrrrrr!
4: “They always play down to the level of their competition!”
I’ve been following the Steelers since 1980, and they’ve been playing down to the level of their competition the entire time. Even in 2013, when the Steelers started out 2-6, and they were actually the level of competition other teams aspired not to play down to, they somehow managed to play down to the level of their competition a lot.
5: “Mettenberger needs to be in there!”
No, I’m not suggesting Zach Mettenberger, claimed off waivers from the Chargers on September 1, will be the preferred choice among the fans to start at quarterback in 2016 (although, if that preferred choice was uttered on the Internet, well.....nothing uttered on there is ever a surprise). However, I am suggesting Mettenberger will be the preferred choice to replace Roethlisberger in the event of an injury. Why? Because Landry Jones isn’t a sure thing as a backup quarterback (you know, as opposed to those 31 other backup quarterbacks around the NFL that Pittsburgh should have picked up)!
Sadly, if Roethlisberger does suffer an injury, it will only mean one thing...
6: “I seriously have to start questioning this team’s offseason conditioning program.”
That’s right, even if Roethlisberger suffers a broken leg due to Vontaze Burfict hitting it with a bat wrapped in barbed fire and set on flames (don’t you dare dismiss the possibility), someone will question his offseason conditioning (as well as the guy in-charge of getting him conditioned).
Forget that Roethlisberger (and like half the team) lost 20 pounds this offseason. The conditioning will still be questioned if injuries are, again, a theme in 2016.
7: “There he is, the player they call ‘Dirty Bird.’”
I watched Charlie Batch and a bunch of Tweeters mess up the “Dirty Red” nickname given to rookie Tyler Matakevich enough times during the preseason to know the network announcers will just butcher it to pieces all regular season long. “Dirty Bird” will probably be the one announcers mistakenly use the most. But don’t discount “Dirty Ed Sheeran.”
8: “I can’t stand Phil Simms!”
If you want, you can substitute “Phil Simms” with “Chris Collinsworth” or “Troy Aikman.” And, instead of “I can’t stand,” you can substitute “I want to hit (insert hated network announcer’s name here) with a hammer!”
9: “Tomlin needs to go!”
Does this really need an explanation?
10: “We will bring home No. 7 in 2016!”
You can also throw in “We will bring home the Lombardi!” and “Seventh Heaven!” but they’ll still mean the same thing, and they’ll still be written or shouted a lot.
There you have it. The top 10 quotes you’re likely to read or hear this Steelers season.