In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been extremely critical of the 2021/2022 Pittsburgh Steelers lately.
I don’t know what’s causing my negativity. Maybe it’s anxiety due to my new job. Maybe it’s my seasonal depression disorder (post-holiday blues) kicking in early (January is my least favorite month of the year). Or maybe it’s the fact that the Steelers just haven’t been good this year, especially the past six weeks or so, when watching them trail by 28 points or more has been the rule and not the exception. (Although, I’m still not ruling out that seasonal depression possibility.)
Many folks couldn’t believe that I was so critical of the Steelers following their 36-10 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium last Sunday. I don’t know if this is official, but my recent writing behavior—my very critical writing behavior—has placed me into the very infamous category of “hater.”
“What are the haters going to say now?” is a question that fans often ask after their team, usually one that has been struggling, does something great.
Am I a hater for pointing out that the Steelers’ average margin of victory has been about four points in 2021, while their average margin of defeat has been over two touchdowns? Am I a hater for pointing out that they've only led for about 19 percent of the time during the regular season and that their point-differential is minus-70 going into Monday night? Am I a hater for mentioning that every single one of the Steelers wins could have easily been losses, while you can only say the opposite when talking about two of their seven defeats?
Am I really a Steelers hater now? Will I, as someone mentioned on Twitter just the other day, be rooting for the Browns on Monday Night Football?
What will I, as a hater, say if Pittsburgh defeats its fierce rival?
I will say, “Yay!” I might even scream so much that my neighbor bangs on the wall (again).
I might even cry if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, reportedly playing his last regular-season game at Heinz Field on Monday night, does something remarkable to help the team win. I might even cry if Roethlisberger cries tears of joy as he runs around Heinz Field saying goodbye to all of his loyal fans. That would be much more preferable to the last time the big guy cried after a game against Cleveland at Heinz Field.
You see, I really want the Steelers to do well. It’s just that, again, they haven’t been doing well lately.
I want them to win their last two games and make it into the playoffs. Why? For one thing, cleaning snow off of your car every morning in January before work is much more tolerable when the Steelers are just days away from playing in a postseason game.
Believe it or not, I still want great things for the Steelers—I am no hater—but they need to start wanting great things for themselves. I realize that this is easier said than done given their current roster and injury woes, but that’s why I’d like to think of myself as a realist and not a hater. A hater hates for no reason (like the loan shark's driver in Rocky), capiche?
Realists just point out what’s real, and right now, the Steelers are real bad.
So, will I be willing to eat a little crow if the Steelers pull out a victory on Monday night? No, because it’s not the 1950s and I don’t know what that saying means.
However, I will eat some leftovers from New Year’s dinner.
After that—and maybe even during my meal—I’ll watch some old NFL Films shows as a means to get all hyped up for a possible playoff berth by the Steelers if everything works out in Week 18.
That’s what real fans do, even when they’re being real about the overall performance of their favorite team.