When faced with trials and tribulations, there are usually two types of people:
People who search for a solution, and those who create excuses.
If you are lucky enough to have children, as they grow you see these two characteristics everyday in their behavior. At a young age they want to just blame someone, or something, for the problem. But as they mature, they will eventually learn to develop plans to avoid the same mistakes from happening again.
The same can be said for football fans too, especially Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
No, the Steelers’ fan base isn’t any different than the other 32 NFL fan bases, but for how the team is currently playing you can see fans falling into those aforementioned categories.
I get it, no one wants to admit their team is playing poorly, but at the same time, creating excuses doesn’t do a lot of good as the Steelers prepare for the playoffs. What I decided to do was to look at some of the more popular excuses circulating the Steelers’ fan base and give logical reasoning as to why these excuses cannot be a crutch for the team moving forward.
Here goes nothing...
Let’s be honest, every NFL team has suffered injuries, it is part of the game. The biggest question is what kind of depth do you have to fill those injured spots on your roster? Sadly, the Steelers’ injuries have happened at primarily the same positions, inside linebacker and guard, but this is why you make a trade for Avery Williamson midway through the season. The Steelers’ injuries make things tough, there is no doubt about that, but for a franchise which hangs their hat on the slogan “the standard is the standard” won’t, and shouldn’t, use that as an excuse for the way they are playing.
Excuse: Youth on the roster
I’ve seen a lot of this when someone wants to step up and explain the dropped passes by players like Diontae Johnson. “He’s a young player.” I get it, but at what point does his age not give him a pass for not doing the most fundamental aspect of his job? The Steelers are young in a lot of positions, but you are hired to do a job...do the job.
Excuse: Ben Roethlisberger is 38 years old
On the flip side of the youth on the roster excuse, is the age of Ben Roethlisberger. Guess what? Anyone who didn’t understand Roethlisberger is a 38 year old quarterback coming off a surgically repaired elbow wasn’t really paying attention. Roethlisberger has slowed down a lot in the latter years of his career, but while many are questioning his arm strength, and rightfully so, the Steelers knew exactly what they were signing up for this season when they put every single one of their eggs in Roethlisberger’s basket.
Excuse: COVID-19 wrecked the season
This is a fan favorite, and one some here at BTSC like to subscribe to as well. The 2020 COVID-19 season has been challenging in a lot of ways. The bye week getting adjusted thanks to the Tennessee Titans’ outbreak, the 3 games in 12 days thanks to the Baltimore Ravens’ outbreak and even the list of players who have missed practice/games after going on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Have all teams had to jump through the same hoops as the Steelers from a scheduling standpoint? No. But every team has had to deal with the protocols, high risk contacts, etc. this season. It has been unfortunate for the Steelers on more than one occasion, but fans can’t pretend the Denver Broncos had to play a game without a quarterback, just as an example.
Excuse: The Steelers’ RBs are awful
The Steelers’ can’t run the ball to save their lives, but some just love to put all of the blame on the running backs. For untested players like Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland, I get the criticism of such an unknown commodity. However, did we forget about James Conner’s Pro Bowl season? Fans should know Conner can get the job done if the offense actually opens itself up to allowing him to succeed. The Steelers’ offensive woes, especially in the running game, are as glaring as the system as they are the players in the lineup...not just the running backs.
I could go on and on with these excuses, but I think you get the picture. Fans have the right to list excuses and debate things like this...it’s what being a fan is all about. But while you won’t, or should never, hear players or coaches claiming excuses, it is time for even the fan base to get real about this Steelers team. They aren’t trending in the right direction, and some changes will be necessary for them to right the ship.