I caught a lot of grief for my previous article, the one about how the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t worth watching anymore.
Some called it clickbait (that’s always a lazy take). Some said I wasn't a real fan (that’s always laughable, especially when it comes from certain people who seem to spend all year demonstrating how much they truly hate the team). Some just said I was being satirical in my presentation (that’s the cross I must bear when about half the articles I write are humorous).
To clarify, my latest article wasn’t written for the purposes of baiting you into clicking on it (although, lots of views on any piece I write are always appreciated). Despite the sentiments expressed in the article, I actually still watch Steelers games and will tune in for the last two (hopefully, three), even if doing so has been a painful experience thus far (and it probably will be for the last two--or three). As for my article being written as a joke? This is not a laughing matter (not unless you consider the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers to be a joke—I know I do).
Anyway, who cares if I’ve been very negative about the 2021 version of the Steelers lately? You think I’m not justified in my viewpoint? This team smells. It smells bad. It stinks. The whole team stinks. So what if I don’t enjoy watching them this year? You mean to tell me that you do? What kind of glutton for punishment are you?
Why do I have to be positive about the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers for your benefit? Maybe I don’t want to be positive about this team. Again, this team stinks! It can’t do anything well, and if it does, it turns around and does 10 bad things to negate it plus (or is it minus?) nine.
When it comes to Steelers fans, I’ve never quite understood the mindset of the “I can’t stand all the negativity” people. Don’t get me wrong, I hear you when it’s coming from someone who, to expound on what I alluded to earlier, spends the entire year acting as if they hate the team (you know who you are). I’m talking about the person who always has something about #FireTomlin as part of his or her social media or Steelers site profile. They complain about recent draft picks and pan every single one months before they set foot in training camp. They talk about the impending gloom and doom of September and October when it’s still April and May (always a time for optimism for us real fans).
I get why that kind of person—the eternal pessimist—would begin to grate on your nerves. But why do you care that fans are being negative during or after an ugly performance that’s turned in by the team in the regular season, you know, like the one we just witnessed on Sunday against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium?
That kind of performance has been par for the course, especially lately.
You’ve seen these 2021 Steelers, right? I don't know if I've made this point yet, but they’re just awful...on both sides of the ball. You mean to tell me you can endure three or four hours of the bleep show we just witnessed the other day—and so many of the other bleep shows this team has turned in in 2021—but you can’t handle a writer writing about the bleep show after the fact? That’s where you draw the line?
Listen, I’d love to write all kinds of articles about how the 2021 Steelers kick butt, but I can’t because they’re much more likely to get their butts handed to them.
Speaking of which, that brings me to the weekly BTSC STAFF PICKS article and the reactions when one or several staff writers pick against the Steelers. There’s a certain reader—I won’t name names—who takes offense to it in such a way that is so infuriating, I just want to...well, I’m not a violent person, but if I could deny him Internet access, I would. There’s a cease and desist way this person does it that just makes my blood boil.
It's almost unsettling.
I will say this for the benefit of that person, however. I’ve picked the Steelers against my good judgment several times this season. In fact, when I picked Pittsburgh to beat the Chiefs last week, I felt stupid, insincere, as if I didn’t believe what I was writing, and with the exception of a few games during the regular season—maybe the Broncos, Bears and Lions—I’ve felt dishonest every week when picking the Steelers to win.
Does that mean I’m not a “real” fan? No, it just means my heart can’t override what my eyes have been seeing for, geez, three seasons, something that started happening right after Antonio Brown was no longer around to do his thing better than any receiver in the history of the NFL.
Everyone couldn’t wait to get rid of AB, Le’Veon Bell, too. Fans were exhausted by their antics (for some reason). You got your wish, but in their wake, Brown and Bell left behind a shell of a contender, a team that can no longer stand toe-to-toe with the best in the NFL week in and week out. You know how you like to say the Steelers can beat anyone when they play their best football? First of all, they can’t, not with the current roster. Second of all, when was the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers played their best football? It hasn’t happened yet in 2021, I can tell you that much.
If you tell me the Steelers, this version of the Steelers, are fun to watch, I call bull. I can see you legitimately insisting on staying loyal to them, but to say this team, with all of its warts and problems, is worth watching, well, that’s laughable.
You can still watch them, sure (I know I will), but you’re just going to have to accept reality, and the reality is that, to reiterate, this team stinks.
If you don’t like writers like me writing about it, well, maybe you can splice together some footage of the offense going three and out and run it on a continuous loop. In fact, you probably won’t have to run it on a loop—there are literally thousands of original moments out there just waiting for an editor to splice them all together.
I dare you to get through all of that footage before turning it off. If you can endure that, you can endure some negative pre-game staff picks and postgame articles.