My mom is so Catholic. How Catholic is she? She’s so Catholic that she has a different saint she prays to for every occasion.
Did you lose your pen? She has a saint for that. Can't find your keys? That’s covered. Struggling with your fantasy football team? I’m sure there is a saint for that. Are you having trouble reckoning your newfound love for Tom Brady, now that he’s away from the evil empire up in New England? I’m sure my mom knows a saint.
Anyway, I’m not sure if my mother knows any priests, but she may have thought it was necessary for one to visit Heinz Field over the first four weeks of the Steelers 2021 regular season, you know, to deliver last rites and such? Why? You remember the offense, right? That unit was placed on life support the moment the regular season kicked off in Buffalo. As for the plethora of groin injuries, my mother may have wanted the same priest to perform an exorcism in order to rid the Steelers’ locker room of that particular injury demon.
You might think I’m joking, but my mother believes in that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, much like a lot of Steeler Nation, her faith in her favorite professional football team had been lacking for some time, especially over the first four weeks of the regular season. I’ve concluded this based on a conversation we had right after the Steelers ended their three-game slide by knocking off the Broncos, 27-19, at Heinz Field in Week 5.
When discussing the game the very next day, my mom told me that she didn’t have her television on at the start of the matchup that Sunday afternoon. No, she was busy doing choirs and also saying her Hail Marys. She was even praying to a bunch of saints—not sure if it was about retrieving pens or some other problem.
She said that after she finished her choirs and her praying, she decided to turn the television on to see how the Steelers were doing. She wasn’t expecting much. Why do I say that? Because she told me that she was “shocked” to discover that Pittsburgh had a 17-6 lead. Not only was she shocked, but she thought it was an actual miracle, one that was brought about by all the praying she had just done (even if it wasn’t Steelers related).
I can only imagine what her feelings were when the Steelers briefly held a 24-6 lead early in the fourth quarter—I’m guessing maybe that it was a miracle on par with the whole Lazarus deal.
What’s my point in all of this? My mother, a woman who used to say things like, “They’re down by three points in the first quarter? The guys on the radio said they’d win!” had lost so much confidence, so much faith in the Steelers that any sort of success—especially a double-digit lead—was deemed to be miraculous.
You can say what you want about the national pundits and their negative Steelers’ predictions all throughout the offseason, but when you perform so poorly for so long that a 71-year old Catholic woman, one who used to have so much faith in you and automatically assumed you’d win every game—even when you played one at Gillette Stadium—thinks that even modest success is the result of prayer, well, your professional football organization has likely hit a very rough patch.
Hopefully, these 2021 Steelers can build on their two-game winning streak coming out of the bye. If they can do that, maybe victories will seem less miraculous to my mom in the not-so-distant future.
Besides, my mom ain’t got time to be praying for a professional football team. There are too many missing pens and keys to worry about.