It’s Christmas season. Some wait until after Thanksgiving to deck their halls. In our home, we’re doing well if we can wait until after Halloween. Radio stations adopt an all Christmas music format. (Does KDKA still raise money for the Children’s Hospital and give away Farkleberry treats?) And on television, the Hallmark channel adopts an all Christmas movie format. My dear wife sits beside me through every Steeler game. It’s the least I can do to sit beside her watching those movies.
Just yesterday we were watching one. You know, the one where the driven career girl doesn’t want to fall for the small town hunk? Yeah, that one. It was still early in the game, but said hunk received the dreaded turn away. This is the physical manifestation of being “friend-zoned,” He goes in for the kiss, she turns her head away. Brutal-the emotional equivalent of an hour’s worth of America’s Funniest Home Video clips of guys getting hit where guys get hit.
That said, this is what I pray our Steelers do when the national media comes courting over the next several weeks. As Kansas City and New England both continue to show they too have their weaknesses, and should the Steelers continue to play at the level they are capable of playing, we may become first, a dark horse candidate for the Super Bowl, and later, even a favorite. We must, however, despite how much we might love the love, turn away and reject it. We must wait until the end of the story, in February.
Say what you want about the myriad contributors to last season’s debacle against the Jaguars, but you can’t leave off that list looking ahead to the Patriots. We got full of ourselves, and played like we’d OD’ed on tryptophan. I’d argue that we started this season with much the same problem. The offense, anyway, was the darling of the league. Happily, 1-2-1 can light a real fire. The window closing on Ben Roethlisberger’s career is not a sufficient motivator. Wanting to prove to the world that you’re not a bunch of past-your-prime players may well be. But that means not believing the fawning praise that is likely now coming.
Don’t know if any of you saw it, but some clever gent pieced together sundry clips of Stephen A. Smith going back and forth between choosing Kansas City and New England as the top AFC team, and tweeted out a link. For a while it irked me he never made mention of the Steelers. Then I got what I’m saying here- a lack of respect by the media can translate into a lack of respect by the opposing team. And that can be good for the black-and-gold. Not only can it motivate, it can squelch the motivation of other teams. Let Kansas City look ahead to New England. Let New England look ahead to Kansas City. And let them both look at their TV’s when the Steelers win the AFC championship game.