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A Letter From the Editor: How the Steelers’ defense and Father’s Day mesh

How my father’s sailor-like language has made me realize what the Steelers’ defense should look like this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Were you intrigued by the headline of this article and had to check it out? Well, I’m glad you did. I want to take you on a trip back to my adolescent years, when I was really starting to fall in love with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The year is 1994, and the Blitzburgh era of Steelers defense is the trend in and around the Pittsburgh area. Wherever you go, people talk about the Steelers defense. It wasn’t like the offense wasn’t good, after all my favorite player was running back Barry Foster, but that defense was everyone’s favorite.

If you were alive for that era, you can rattle off the names with ease...

  • Greg Lloyd
  • Levon Kirkland
  • Kevin Greene
  • Carnell Lake
  • Rod Woodson
  • Chad Brown

I could go on, but if you know, you know.

During those seasons my time spent on Sunday was with my father, and often times some of his friends. Sundays became events, and if the playoffs were involved it was a big deal.

My jobs on game days were simple:

  • Stay in the same seat, unless things go south. Then move.
  • Try not to talk too much, gotta hear the game.
  • Get anyone who needs a beer a fresh one, I was even taught how to pour from a tap at a very young age.

That was about it.

My mother would stay upstairs and often be making food for the guys, but watching on a separate television. Downstairs was where the guys watched the game, and it was no holds barred when it came to the language used.

The offense got everyone fired up, but the defense turned these regular, everyday guys into lunatics. It didn’t take long for me to look at what I was seeing on the field, and immediately make it synonymous with what I was seeing, and especially hearing.

As Kevin Greene and Greg Lloyd planned their meeting at the quarterback, the guys would rise from their seats. And when the sack was completed, crippling high fives went around the room.

And then the color commentary began...

“Go F— yourself (insert name of quarterback here)!!”

“Eat [feces] (insert name of quarterback here)!!

Or my all-time favorite...

“Rip his head off, and [defecate] in his neck!!”

Yes, that was actually said, and it got quite the reaction from the crowd of terrible towel waving fans who were in attendance.

It was quite the spectacle.

At this point, you might be wondering what this has to do with either Father’s Day, or the 2022 Steelers defense. Let me explain...

As for the Father’s Day portion, I will always remember those days with my dad. Whether it was sprinting to the basement refrigerator and back to try and beat the commercial break, or just the thrill of victory being celebrated with my dad, my brother and myself. They were very special moments, and still are.

As for the 2022 defense, when I think back to those days, the Blitzburgh era, those defenses had a nastiness about them. Same with the 2000s defenses. I feel as if that is something which is desperately needed in today’s group. You see streaks of it here and there from players like Cam Heyward and T.J. Watt, but the group as a whole needs to bring the nasty to be mentioned with those other defensive units.

I understand the game has changed since those mid-90s teams, but I am hoping not just for a great Steelers defense this season, but an intimidating group. A group who imposes their will on the opponent. It’s been a while since we’ve experienced one of those, and I would love nothing more than to sit down this season and watch a game with my dad just to hear those colorful comments come spewing out.

Because they still happen, and I still love it.

(Note: The Letter From the Editor feature runs every Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)