I can still remember the day clearly.
January 8th, 2012
It was the culmination of the 2011 regular season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves at Mile High to play the Denver Broncos in the AFC Wild Card game. The Steelers were heavily favored over Tim Tebow and the Broncos, but the game was just odd. Sloppy at times, but it ended up heading to overtime.
The NFL had just altered their overtime rules prior to that season. It was the first time everyone wondered if, despite losing the coin toss, would the Steelers get a chance to win, or extend, the game? Remember, prior to this game the rule stated the first team to score points was the winner. But this was the year if the team who started with the ball kicked a field goal on their opening possession, the opposition would have a chance to match.
This article isn’t about that game. We all know what happened.
Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard catch and run to end the game.
Just like that, season over.
The point of this article is what happened after the catch and run.
At that time I was living in a different house in a very nice neighborhood. For Christmas the prior year my parents had gotten me a Steelers mailbox cover. I slapped that thing on as soon as I got it, and loved seeing the black and gold every day I pulled into the driveway. With well over a year of the sun, rain, wind and snow, the black and gold colors were faded, but there was no doubt who we rooted for at our house.
Nonetheless, it was that same mailbox cover which was the recipient of my anger on this January day.
When Thomas ran into the end zone, I immediately turned the television off, I had no interest in watching the Broncos celebrate their dramatic win. I walked upstairs and my wife, who wasn’t watching the game, asked the same question she always does...
“Did they win?”
“Nope.” I responded.
I didn’t elaborate on how the Steelers lost, but she asked if I could take the trash bag out, and also put the trash bin at the end of the driveway. I was in no mood to be around anyone, so I agreed without even the slightest hint of disagreement.
After taking off my Ben Roethlisberger jersey, can’t have anything happen to the No. 7 jersey, I took the trash out. As I walked down the driveway, I parked the trash bin right next to our mailbox. I stood there in the sub-freezing temperatures glaring at the logo.
The faded hypocycloids almost burned a hole into my soul.
I wasn’t just upset, I was angry. How in the world could the Steelers, the most successful franchise in NFL history, lose a game, like that, to Tim Tebow and the lowly Broncos?!
I had had enough, and it was time for me take out my frustrations out on something. Alone at the end of my driveway I grabbed the corner of the mailbox cover and pulled as hard as I could. The corner came up, and then I hit a stopping point. The mailbox itself, not the cover, was moving. I tugged and pulled with all my strength, and the reality was I was going to rip my mailbox out of the ground before this cover came off.
As it turns out, when the adhesive to the cover is in freezing temperatures, it almost becomes impossible to remove.
Defeated, I stood there both physically and mentally drained.
I walked back into the house, and went on with my life.
It was at this time some perspective came sweeping over me. I felt foolish. I felt like a child. Here I was a grown man, a husband and a father, allowing something which I had absolutely no control over to get me this emotional.
It was the first time in my life I looked at professional sports in a different way. It didn’t mean I was less of a fan. It didn’t mean I didn’t want the Steelers to win. It didn’t mean I didn’t care anymore.
No, it meant I have to show the restraint to realize what I can, and cannot, control. Why get so emotional about Ike Taylor being stiff-armed by Demaryius Thomas? It wasn’t me who got stiff-armed. Why get so mad about Dick LeBeau calling that defense in that situation? I didn’t make that call.
After that day I had a new perspective on the Steelers. Every time I pulled into that driveway I saw that mailbox cover with a corner dangling off, and it was a gentle reminder to let go of the things you can’t control.
This all took place a couple years before I had started at BTSC, and working for/running this site has given me a voice I didn’t have before. I am able to take my passion, frustration and excitement and get it out. Sometimes it is in the written form, and others in podcast form. Either way, I have an outlet. For that, I am extremely thankful.
Let my story be a guide for you as we all prepare for the 2021 regular season. We can all root and cheer during the games until we can’t talk, but win, lose or draw we should try our best not to let it impact our day-to-day lives. Some do this better than others, but let BTSC be your outlet. Let it be your way to get your thoughts and feelings out. Our comment section is a beautiful community of members from all around the globe who think, and feel, the same way about the Steelers as you do. We all have our disagreements from time to time, but that’s family for you.
I am really excited for the 2021 season, as I know you are too. I don’t live in that house anymore, but I have family who still live in that neighborhood. The mailbox cover is long gone, but I still drive by that house and imagine myself standing there at the edge of the driveway struggling with a stupid plastic mailbox cover.
Was anyone watching? I don’t know, but if they were, they got to see one heck of a show!