Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph celebrated his 27th birthday on Sunday.
Normally, an athlete’s special day is an occasion that comes and goes without incident. The team posts a player’s birthday on its various social media accounts. The fans, people who have likely never even met him, wish him a happy birthday, complete with those “Happy Birthday!” gif thingies in the comments section, and the world goes on.
However, the moment the Steelers took to social media to celebrate Rudolph's day, I just knew things would be different. Much like 96.1’s The Freak Show, I immediately went to the Steelers’ official Facebook page to read the comments.
I wasn’t disappointed, which is to say, I was very disappointed in the hatred and cruelty displayed by these so-called Steelers fans.
Below are just some of the comments:
“3 candles for the QB3.”
“Happy birthday! Sorry to see you go. Good luck in free agency.”
“Happy birthday! Go to a new team.”
“Happy birthday! Hope you get a chance to lay down and relax.” (This particular comment was accompanied by a gif of the play in which Rudolph was knocked out by Earl Thomas and suffered a concussion.)
“Can we give him a new home for his birthday?”
“Happy birthday Mr. 1st round grade.”
“Happy birthday hope you get traded as a present.”
I can go on, but I believe I’ve made my point, and my point is this: Even Steelers fans can be jerks (shocker, I know).
I know what you might be saying: “But, Tony, there were a lot of nice and sweet “Happy birthday!” wishes directed at Rudolph.” Yeah, but it should have been 100 percent nice and sweet, just like any other Steeler. It’s his freakin’ birthday, not a review of the tie against the Lions.
I know what else you might be saying: “Look, mate, I just don’t feel Rudolph is a great quarterback.” Wow, well, thanks for clearing that up. When you put it that way...
Imagine your boss and co-workers celebrating your birthday at work and writing on the cake: “Happy Birthday! We Never Should Have Hired You.”
It takes zero effort to not be a jerk when wishing someone a happy birthday on Facebook. You wonder why I am so hesitant about meeting BTSC readers and listeners in person? This is why. (Although, I do have a pleasant story from a recent encounter that I will soon share with you in article form.) Anyone who would take the time to go on social media and be mean to a player on his birthday is someone I may be afraid to interact with. (The fact that you take the time to wish anyone you don’t know a “Happy Birthday!” is rather scary in and of itself. No offense.)
To repeat myself for the millionth time: How can you not root for this guy? How can you not be cheering hard for Rudolph to be QB1 on September 11 against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium?
I hope it happens. I hope Rudolph wins the job on merit and goes on to pass for 5,000 yards and 45 touchdowns in 2022.
I hope Rudolph goes on to have a stellar career, complete with NFL MVP awards and Super Bowl MVP awards (if you know what I mean)? After that, I hope Rudolph retires and quickly leaves Pittsburgh in a bitter huff. You’ll be asking, “Why doesn’t Rudolph like us? We love you, Mason!” Rudolph will retort: “You don’t love me. You love winning that game out there.”
Does any of that sound familiar? That’s right, Terry Bradshaw. Speaking of whom, I’m beginning to understand why that man has been in therapy for the past 50 years.
Anyway, I can’t wait to read Rudolph’s post-career biography: “At Least They Remembered My Birthday: The Mason Rudolph Story.”
Happy birthday, Mason Rudolph. Here’s to many more...as the Steelers starting quarterback.