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Why the Steelers 2021 schedule release ruined my birthday

The NFL never has an offseason, does it? It’s got the spotlight on it 24/7/365. Even my birthday, something that I was looking forward to celebrating, was preempted by the league’s annual schedule release.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It was my birthday on Wednesday, May 12. You probably didn’t know that, did you? You were too busy worrying about when the Steelers played their games during the upcoming 2021 regular season.

That’s right, the much-anticipated (for some reason) 2021 regular season schedule was released to the public.

Having a birthday around Mother’s Day has always been tough enough for me. Every four years or so, my special day gets placed in the shadows by a bunch of people who, if it wasn’t for the children they produced, wouldn’t even have a holiday named in their honor. Just two years ago, 2019, I had to endure the horror of sharing my birthday with Mother’s Day. Facebook “Happy birthdays!” were down, while questions like, “So, when is your birthday?” persisted long after my noteworthy day passed.

People tend to forget about me when they’re worried about their own mothers.

Having said all of that, I was really looking forward to this year’s birthday. It was on a Wednesday, the lamest day of the week. Who does anything on Wednesday, right? What better way to spruce it up than by adding the flavor of my birthday to it? My friends—real-life, those on social media and even those in Behind the Steel Curtain’s comments sections—could have basked in the glow of my day.

But the NFL had other plans. You know how they say the league has become a 24/7/365-day a year entity? The schedule release is perhaps the best proof of that (although, I would have also accepted worrying about rookie numbers). The NFL, including your innocent little Pittsburgh Steelers, has a way of keeping the spotlight on itself, even when other major professional sports leagues are gearing up for the best portions of their seasons.

The Pirates are about to open their season at PNC Park? What better time for the Steelers to release a new highlight video complete with yet another rendition of “Renegade” acting as background music?

Oh mama, now nobody’s paying any attention to the Pirates.

It’s unbecoming. Give the calendar room to attend to other clients. My goodness, NFL, you’re like Rod Tidwell in the movie, Jerry Maguire.

Anyway, back to my birthday. I never expect much at this age: 49. But nobody in the Steelersverse even noticed. Nobody on Twitter. Nobody on BTSC, well, except for George Testen, who donated a $2 super chat in my honor on the Steelers Preview podcast. I don’t know how you remembered that, George, but I gotta kidney with your name on it the second you need it.

I didn’t have much growing up in the ‘80s. I didn’t get presents and balloons for my birthday. I had to work in a coal mine for four cents a week. I didn’t have the luxuries that kids enjoy today, like food and electricity. Do you know what it’s like to fall in the mud and get kicked in the head with an iron boot? But I was thankful for some reason. I mean, who would be thankful for those kinds of conditions? That’s stupid.

I was.

Despite my grim conditions as a kid, conditions that I was really thankful for, I knew that I’d grow up one day and have people recognize my birthday on social media platforms.

That didn’t happen this year. The NFL is working its way into everyone’s lives. It’s in every corner of every room in our country. We can’t enjoy Christmas: “Gotta get to the game!” We can’t enjoy Thanksgiving: “I can’t eat turkey; it will put me to sleep before the third leg of the triple-header comes on!” We can’t enjoy New Year’s Eve: “I can’t drink tonight; I gotta be fresh for tomorrow’s Week 17 slate of games!”

I thought I was safe in the middle of May. I didn’t think there was any way the NFL would encroach upon my special day, but you did. Instead of the focus being on me, Steelers fans were worried about the Bills, Chiefs, Packers, Browns and Ravens.

I hope you’re happy, NFL. I turn 50, next year. Should I just go ahead and move my birthday celebration to June 12, or will you “just happen” to release a new Terrible Towel design on that day?

Have you no shame?