The date was August 31, 2018. The Pittsburgh Steelers had just played their final preseason game (which I had attended with my daughter as her very first game) the night before. I was extremely tired as I had made the 3.5 hour drive back to my home in Maryland but could not go to sleep just yet. I was too excited to put my thoughts down in written form about something which transpired during my trip home. Like any Steelers’ game I attend at Heinz Field, once returning to my vehicle I had turned on the post game show on WDVE.
I can’t remember exactly who was doing this particular preseason show— I think Tim Benz may have been one of the hosts— but they were saying the phone lines were open but they had yet to speak with any callers. I decided to put on my headphones and call into the station. They were discussing which positions the Steelers would be keeping on the 53-man roster on Saturday afternoon and couldn’t get their number straight. For anyone who has followed my writing here at Behind The Steel Curtain, you know that discussing numbers is right up my alley.
I was the only phone call they took for the rest of the show that night, and, after I explained I was driving home from the game, I laid out to them the numbers I believed the Steelers would keep by position. I won’t give you the exact quote they said when they asked me if I was really driving, but they were very impressed by my numbers. In fact, they were almost as impressed as my daughter was in hearing her dad’s voice on the radio.
When I arrived home that night, or should I say the next morning, I decided to write down my prediction as an article. Two days prior I had spoken with BTSC editor Jeff Hartman for the first time and was discussing coming on board to contribute to the site. I decided to go ahead and forward my thoughts to him in an email. I wasn’t sure how it would be received.
Later on that same day of August 31, 2018, it became the day I was given writer privileges and I submitted my first article for Behind The Steel Curtain. Jeff had let me know my article would be running the next morning. Needless to say, I could barely contain my excitement.
My wife and I brought up the article and viewed how it would go out on the website. To see my name underneath the title for the first time seemed too surreal and we both were so excited we could barely contain ourselves. I had been writing Steelers articles for a couple years for a small Facebook audience, but nothing like this.
Fast forward 629 days and 956 articles to where I find myself writing an article to be published the next day which I never imagined— announcing I am taking over as the new editor of Behind The Steel Curtain.
I have to admit this was not something I expected. Honestly, it was never something I really wanted. Working for Jeff Hartman has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t ask for a better boss. And in the 10 months in which I’ve been the deputy editor of the website, Jeff is the only person I’ve communicated with on a daily basis other than my immediate family living in my house.
In case you did not read his article earlier today, Jeff has been given a great opportunity to move up in the sports journalism world by taking a position at DKPittsburghSports.com. To say Jeff will be missed is an understatement as I find it difficult for anyone to miss him more than I will. But I’m also happy that my friend has such an amazing opportunity.
The biggest question with this transition of editors is how it will affect the website. My hope is the answer given by anyone who frequents the site would be “minimally.” We still have the same fantastic writers contributing to the site, so other than the names underneath the headlines of some articles, the hope is there will not be much of a noticeable change. Instead of seeing Jeff’s name in some places you may see mine, Bryan Anthony Davis, or perhaps someone else. Bryan will be taking over the management of the podcasts, so his name will often be seen under the podcast articles.
In the coming days, I will be making other announcements in regards to the deputy editor position. While there are some things in the works, until they are made official we will not be making an announcement.
As tempted as I am to go into some Star Wars analogy about how Jeff was the Jedi master and I was his young Padawan, it doesn’t seem appropriate since Jeff has never actually seen Star Wars. I will just say that although I know it it is quite a lofty expectation for me to expect to do the job Jeff Hartman did as well as he was able to do it, that is my goal for you all as the members and readers as we move forward through this awkward 2020 Steelers’ offseason and towards the hopeful return to action of our beloved Steelers this fall.
On behalf of BTSC, I would like to thank Jeff for all that he has done for this website over the last five years as editor, and wish him nothing but the best as he moves on to this great opportunity. I will miss hearing the “Who’s The Boss” theme going on my phone signaling his texts. I will miss his ability to come up with a great headline in under five seconds. And I will miss all the fun we had together on The Steelers Preview podcast.
Although Jeff will be missed, the best thing we can do here at BTSC is to work diligently to maintain this community he worked so hard to build.