I got a text from my cousin shortly after the Steelers blew a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead and lost to the Jets, 24-20, in Week 4: “I’m going to...” (Well, I won’t tell you exactly what she said, but let’s just say she threatened to punch a hole in her wall.)
I said, “No need to do that over this team. Save that for when the Steelers are good enough to make you want to punch something during a playoff game.”
I was talking to my mom one day after the Steelers were demolished by the Bills, 38-3, and she said, “That game, yesterday...I wanted to cry. I was going to call you and ask you what was going on.”
I said to her, “No need to shed tears over these Pittsburgh Steelers. They don’t deserve the sentiment.”
Speaking of my mother, a devout Catholic, she told me she actually prayed the rosary during the Steelers' most recent debacle, a 35-13 thrashing at the hands of the Eagles in Week 8.
I said, “Praying the rosary won’t do any good for this team; administering the last rites might have been more appropriate.” I, and only I, got a good chuckle out of that one.
These Steelers are just bad, too bad to be getting all emotional over.
I remember how mad I used to get while watching mediocre-to-worse Steelers teams. Take the 1991 Steelers, Chuck Noll’s final squad and one that finished 7-9. I punched couches and got yelled at by my mother, stomped floors and got screamed at by my grandfather, and swore a lot which made me get cursed at by my grandmother. I embarrassed myself all throughout that season, and for what? For a team that had no real shot at doing anything but watching the Super Bowl on a television similar to the one I often threatened to throw my remote control at. (Let’s just say my late grandfather would have done a whole lot more than scream at me had I actually followed through with that threat.)
Fast-forward a few years and that nightmare of a day that followed the Steelers' upset loss to the Chargers in the AFC title game at old Three Rivers Stadium. I was devastated. I was a wreck, but I had a right to be; that Steelers team was really loaded and had just posted its best regular-season record since the 1970s.
I was still lamenting the loss two weeks later, even as the Chargers and 49ers faced off in Super Bowl XXIX. My uncle, who was watching the Big Game with me, said, “You need to get over it, pal.” He was right, but I just couldn’t! That damn Bill Cowher! He always played down to the level of his competition. When were the Rooneys going to wake up?
Fast-forward one year. It was just seconds after the Steelers survived the Colts—and Jim Harbaugh’s Hail Mary pass—and advanced to their first Super Bowl in 16 years. I jumped up from the couch, ran into my grandmother’s kitchen and slid across the floor on my belly. My uncle, who was cooking something on the stove at that pivotal moment for some strange reason I could never figure out, looked down at me and said, “You need to grow up.” He was right, but I just couldn’t help myself. The Steelers were going to the Super Bowl, baby!
Fast-forward one decade. There I was in my mom's living room, watching the Steelers' divisional-round playoff game against the Jets at the then-named Heinz Field. I swore, screamed and jumped around during this ugly classic, as Pittsburgh survived the underdog Jets in overtime to advance to the AFC Championship Game. My mom, who I believe I permanently traumatized during that memorable evening, still refers to that contest as the “Jumping Around Game.”
I was 32.
Anyway, fast-forward one year. I decided to pay my mom a celebratory visit just moments after the Steelers upset the Colts in a divisional-round playoff game. I walked into her living room and jokingly collapsed on the floor in front of her. She then proceeded to tell me that she was standing in her kitchen and saying the rosary right at the moment when Mike Vanderjagt, that idiot kicker, was lining up to attempt a 46-yard game-tying field goal.
I said, “It worked! That’s the only explanation. You keep doing that every week through the Super Bowl!”
I look back on those days and sometimes chuckle and sometimes cringe, but, again, at least those teams were worth fretting over.
You don’t fret over Bubby Brister and Aaron Jones (no offense to them). You don’t break stuff over Derek Watt and Ahkello Witherspoon (ditto).
And in today’s day and age, you don’t go into someone’s DMs and tell them to choke on this or eat that over an opinion about these 2-6 Steelers.
It’s just not worth it.
Save that stuff for teams who have the currency to pay off your emotional outbursts.