It was a number of years ago when I first started noticing the “official” social media pictures of your Pittsburgh Steelers as they arrived somewhere or were heading someplace.
Whenever the Steelers arrived at training camp, the airport, the bus station or a professional football stadium, we were bombarded with pics on multiple social media platforms.
I thought it was pretty funny and even interesting at first. “Oh, that’s a fly suit AB is sporting,” I might have said to myself or to the Internet. “Man, those are some big headphones Cam Heyward is using.” “That’s a pretty cool and tricked-out car Chris Boswell just arrived at training camp in.”
But it got old pretty quickly. How could it not? There are only so many times you can watch professional football players walk to and/or from trains, buses and automobiles. There are only so many airports you can see them arrive at with their luggage in tow. There are only so many times you can comment on their fashion sense as they walk around in non-Steelers garb.
Those social media pics of your Pittsburgh Steelers departing and arriving may have gotten old fairly fast for grumpy people like me, but that didn’t stop the organization’s PR department from continuing this practice on the regular.
In fact, you see these pictures being posted to the Steelers official Facebook page now more than you ever have; I’ve been accused of clickbait a time or 2,000 during my days as a writer, and I don’t want to charge the Steelers with such a crime, but what else can it be? After all, these meaningless pictures often generate dozens of mostly meaningless and pointless comments.
Below are some examples:
“That’s my quarterback!”
“Do you think Jack Lambert would have ever arrived at the airport in such a ridiculous outfit? Yes, old Jack Splat enjoyed his occasional on-field brawl, but, by golly, he sure knew how to dress like a professional on road trips.”
“If the 49ers offered the Steelers Jimmy Garoppolo for their 2022 first-round pick, do you think they’d make that deal?”
“OH, YEAH? WHO WOULD YOU REPLACE TOMLIN WITH? OTHER THAN BELICHEAT, NAME A MORE SUCCESSFUL HEAD COACH OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS!”
Seeing those pictures and reading those comments always makes me angry. Why? For starters, I’m on Facebook, which often predisposes one to fits of rage. Secondly, I put my pants on the same way those guys do every morning; do you think I like seeing these millionaire athletes walking around in designer pants that cost more than I make in a year?
Anyway, jealousy and covetousness, aside, do you think it’s really a story when your football team arrives at the airport to board a plane for a road game? Wouldn’t it be a bigger story if the team just decided not to make the trip and stayed home and played video games? To paraphrase the famous Twitter personality, JosABanks, when the COVID-infested Ravens were seemingly doing everything in their power to get their matchup against the Steelers at Heinz Field postponed last December: “Baltimore is sending two empty planes to Pittsburgh. Wake up, sheeple!”
I’m no commissioner, and I haven’t read every NFL rule, but I’m pretty sure if the Steelers no-showed a bunch of games, that could lead to a sanction or two. Maybe even worse.
In fact, if I’m the NFL at that point, I’m saying to the Steelers, “Listen, Steelers, here’s the deal, you don’t get to be a team no more on a kinda you keep sending empty buses to opposing stadiums—even to Heinz Field. People are beginning to notice.”
I realize the NFL likes to help us stay engaged 365 days a year, but the actual season generates more than enough to keep fans invested while they wait for the next Steelers game—including grades, PFF rankings, power rankings, what jerseys to buy/wear, articles, Steelers podcasts, Twitter fights involving rival Steelers podcasters, Twitter fights involving rival Steelers reporters, Twitter fights involving rival Steelers fans after Mark Madden posts that gif of JuJu and Ebron dancing, etc.
Look, we get it, Steelers, your players often arrive to and from places, and when they do, they look handsome and/or wacky in their non-Steelers garb.
Trust me, the next time the Steelers go on the road to play a game, we’ll all be confident in the fact that the players and coaches will show up to perform. You don’t have to inform us of everything all the time.