The Steelers are about to embark on another training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. In fact, that will begin in about two weeks.
It’s exciting, isn’t it? Yes, sir, every season, especially the 2022 campaign when Pittsburgh hopes to find its successor at quarterback to the immortal Ben Roethlisberger, offers a time for rebirth, possibility, hope, and fun.
At least that’s how it is if you’re one of those black-and-gold glasses-wearing types who want to drink the Steelers' black-and-gold Kool-Aid (eww!) and think the team can do no wrong.
If that’s who you are, I got news for you: Stay that way, at least until the Steelers' regular season begins to unfold, and we get a clearer sense of who and what they are.
If the Steelers really do find their next Big Ben quicker than expected, and they get off to an incredible start, why, those black-and-gold glasses will look rather fashionable, as will those crazy and zany 15-2-type predictions.
If they don’t, if they struggle mightily, if Mitch Trubisky looks like a bum, if Kenny Pickett doesn’t look ready, and if an underwhelming Mason Rudolph is piloting the offense, that will certainly be a time to naysay and spell gloom and doom.
It would be silly to be irrationally optimistic and defensive, that’s for sure. Believe me, I certainly had enough of that from a certain BTSC reader last year, a person who would say stuff like, “Jeff, enough with the negativity,” in the comments section of an article about how the Steelers were underdogs by 10 points in their very next game.
Not only were the Steelers huge underdogs a time or two in 2021, but they found themselves down by huge scores on many occasions. They never really looked like that great of a team, even if they somehow snuck into the playoffs as the seventh seed in the AFC.
Those in-game meltdowns during the Behind the Steel Curtain game-day threads were often justified, as were the calls for head coach Mike Tomlin’s job. Yes, we may have debated back and forth over that. Yes, I may have been firmly on Team Tomlin (aren’t I always?), but I certainly didn’t think he was above reproach for his and his team’s performance in 2021.
But that stuff is common during the season. During the offseason, however, especially this portion of the offseason when the smell of football is in the air? I don’t want to engage in such debates. Who wants to do that now?
Who wants to have long, drawn-out debates about whether or not Tomlin should be on the hot seat in 2022? Who’s still complaining about the first-round selection of Pickett in the 2022 NFL Draft? The guy is about to truly begin his professional career in the NFL. He’s excited. The Steelers are excited. Their fans—every single one of them—should be off-the-chains excited. Imagine if Pickett shows the same kind of potential Roethlisberger did in his rookie season of 2004? What a find he could be!
And it’s not just the young quarterback. What about the young running back? How about the young offensive line that actually looks like it might have the right youthful pieces to succeed as a unit?
There’s promise on the defensive line with Tyson Alualu returning, Larry Ogunjobi arriving, and Cam Heyward still dominating.
I can give you more examples, but the point is this: We’re long past the point of the offseason when you should be complaining about anything. I mean, my goodness, it’s like some of the fans want Tomlin fired so bad, they’d enjoy that more than...
Anyway, I think I’m the perfect writer to talk about this kind of thing since I’ve been accused of being a totally blind Steelers shill, as well as having the most negative Steelers take of an entire season (that’s right, I cherish my 2021 Yinzie Award for my negative reaction to the Steelers 36-10 loss to the Chiefs last December).
I’m happy when I’m supposed to be happy, and I’m mad when it’s time to be mad.
July isn’t a time to be mad about the Pittsburgh Steelers, however. Save it for the season...if the moment calls for it.