It was like a hangover but without alcohol.
I was coming down from the high of believing, for about four weeks and those last three hours of the 2022 regular season, that Pittsburgh would sneak into the playoffs as the seventh and final seed in the AFC.
It was a familiar sort of hangover, one that I experienced a year earlier after the Steelers actually did sneak into the playoffs as the seventh seed but were unceremonious ushered out of them by the Chiefs on Wild card Weekend.
It’s a physical and mental state that comes over me every time the Steelers’ season ends without a Super Bowl parade (all but two of them have ended that way since 1980).
In the years before social media, as well as my semi-profession as a writer/podcaster, I would simply shut football down for a while and concentrate on other things.
But I hadn’t done that in quite a while, mainly because of the writing/podcasting stuff.
However, I had no desire to even look at Twitter and Facebook in the hours following the conclusion of the Steelers’ 2022 campaign. I did Tweet and retweet some things out of obligation, but I mainly stayed away from as much Steelers content as I could for the next 24 hours or so. Let’s just say that I needed to give my body a break after hard-lining playoff fantasies for the previous few weeks.
And you know what? I felt better. I dipped my toe into the Steelers' social media universe the next day, only to find that people were already lighting up their hot takes about three playoff wins in 12 years. They were reaching into their coat pockets and pulling out their flasks marked: “2023 NFL Draft.”
They were opening medicine cabinets, just hoping to find news of Matt Canada’s dismissal, or at least a few lists of his possible successors.
Folks were dismissing playoff previews in favor of arguments about “Accepting mediocrity” and “The standard is the standard.”
I realized I made the correct choice and decided to keep removing those toxins from my body.
That’s right, much like Denzel Washington in the movie, Flight (a very underrated Denzel picture), I went into my fridge and threw away all of my “Is Mike Tomlin on the hot seat?” Steelers beer. I found my fifth of “List of draft priorities” Steelers vodka hidden under my bed and flushed it down the toilet.
I even threw away a brownie that could have had me tripping on Kenny Pickett already being replaced by another quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. I have no idea who I bought that from, but I didn’t trust what was in it.
It’s now been over a week since I began my Steelers offseason detox, and I must say, I feel like myself. I’ve barely looked at social media. I’ve hardly engaged in any “debates” about Tomlin, Canada and/or the NFL Draft. I’m still focusing on the Steelers just-concluded 2022 regular season, as well as the ongoing NFL postseason.
Sure, much like Denzel in that aforementioned movie, I know I’ll eventually fall off the wagon (or is it on the wagon?) and engage in many unhealthy Steelers offseason habits, but life is good these days.
No Steelers news is good news...for now.