As a life-long Pittsburgher who always has access to KDKA TV, I was beginning to fade in and out during the second half of last Saturday night’s preseason game between the Steelers and Lions at Heinz Field.
I’m not talking about my cable feed. No, I’m talking about my consciousness.
The Steelers starters had dominated this supposed dress-rehearsal matchup against Detroit in the first half, and I was having a hard time watching all of these future engineers, teachers and football movie consultants struggle to maintain what had been a 23-0 lead.
I wasn’t nervous or anything; I was just bored. I was waiting for this all to be over. I had no interest in watching any more of this game. I wanted the on-field officials to employ an unprecedented (for the NFL) running clock. I was hoping two seconds would magically go by like one. I was wishing for a major lightning storm to come along and cancel the rest of the game.
I think I’ve made my point.
However, I had to continue watching, right? As a semi-professional football writer and podcaster, it was my duty to glean as much information as possible from this meaningless game so as to have many hot takes to dish out in future articles and episodes of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack.
But, oh, the agony.
Thankfully, I read this Tweet from Behind the Steel Curtain editor Dave Schofield—“Steelers fans need to be prepared if NFL Network switches to the 10 PM game when it kicks off. Just trying to give you a warning now in order to hopefully save your remote from being crushed into your TV.”—and, I don’t know, it just gave me life.
This Tweet was posted at 9:27 p.m., and I immediately began to clap like that one character played by Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor. Or, perhaps more aptly, I clapped like Dr. Evil after he hatches one of his evil plans in one of those Austin Powers movies.
I don’t know movies.
I do know I was happy but for mad reasons.
I wanted to see the reactions of all the out-of-town fans when the Steelers preseason game was cut short by the NFL Network so it could show another preseason matchup on the West Coast.
Sure enough, the reactions were great, as in angry.
Am I being mean? Maybe.
You knew what you were getting into when you entered into a long-distance relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Long-distance love isn’t easy to maintain. Depending on where you are in the world, seeing the Steelers may mean staying up really late or waking up crazy early. In your mind, nobody could ever love the Steelers the way you do—even from thousands of miles away—and you’re often jealous of lovers like me who do nothing but take them for granted and just assume they’ll always be there.
I get to listen to Bob Pompeani, Charlie Batch and Missi Matthews pump the Steelers up during a preseason game, while you are often forced to listen to the local affiliate of the other team neglect to do so.
The NFL Network might allow you to watch a Steelers preseason game, but as you found out on Saturday, “NFL” often stands for Not For Long when there’s another contest about to kickoff.
Your quality time with the Steelers is even scarce during the regular season, as you hope for the occasional dinner party involving Jim Nantz and Tony Romo; Joe Buck and Troy Aikman; Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth; and whoever does the games for Monday Night Football.
It’s often too inconvenient for you to fly out to Pittsburgh to visit the Steelers at their home, so you wind up rendezvousing with them in god-forsaken places like Baltimore, Cleveland and even Dallas, Texas.
But, hey, would you have it any other way? You chose to give your heart to the Steelers. Would you rather be a Patriots fan? Do you think you could fall for the Bengals? If you want, I can set you up with the Dolphins or even the Jaguars, a team that is always single and ready to mingle.
No to all of those potential love connections? Fair enough. The Steelers are a hard team to get over.
I have faith in your long-distance union with the Pittsburgh Steelers. You’ve been together all this time. You’ve endured so many heartbreaks and have been flexed on multiple times by those cold, calculating networks who are usually only looking for a roll on the field.
You’ll be fine. Don’t let a little preseason switcheroo get in the way. Just prepare your heart for the postseason, where the Steelers love is always universal.