Back in the days before social media, the thought of the Steelers making the playoffs, regardless of record, regardless of what might happen to them once they got in, was everything.
This was what Steelers fans lived for. This was why they twirled those Terrible Towels. This was why they lifted all of those Iron City beers.
Unfortunately for me, I only knew a few dozen Steelers fans back in the days before social media. Some were family members. Some were friends. Some were even people who just called in to talk shows every day to discuss all things Steelers. In other words, I was sheltered from the world as a whole.
Thanks to social media, I now realize how many weird people there are out there in the world, people who have their own “opinions” about things like the color of the sky, for example. “Don’t want to believe me, sheeple? Here’s a link to this YouTube video about what they’re not telling you about the color of the sky. It will blow your mind!”
No offense—and this might surprise some—but there are many Steelers fans who fall into the category of “weird.”
For example, many don’t want the 2022 Steelers, a team that’s heading into Week 18 with more than a fighter’s chance of making the playoffs, to actually make the playoffs.
Why? Because they might get slaughtered by (insert whichever team ultimately winds up with the number two seed here).
Wow, what a wonderful way to look at life. To quote Robin Williams from the movie Good Will Hunting (and I believe this kind of applies): “That way, you can go your whole life without ever really knowing anyone.”
Is the fear of a team getting blown out a reason to not see it make the playoffs? I don’t think so. If you do, well, to quote Greg Kinnear from the movie As Good As It Gets (and I believe this really does apply): “Put your jammies on, and I’ll tell you a story!”
I don’t get those kinds of Steelers fans.
It’s a good thing someone like me, a 17-year-old at the time, didn’t have that attitude when I hoped and prayed for the 1989 Steelers, a team made up of players named Bubby Brister and Weegie Thompson, to actually sneak into the postseason as the fifth and final seed in the AFC.
Man, I was so stoked when they officially clinched on Christmas night. Did anyone give the Steelers a chance in heck of defeating the Oilers? No, but cornerback Dwayne Woodruff, who remotely joined the Monday Night Football crew to watch the Vikings take on the Bengals in the final regular-season game of the ‘89 campaign, seemed pretty darn happy when Minnesota scored the game-winning touchdown that knocked Cincinnati out and stamped Pittsburgh’s ticket to the dance.
While the Steelers didn’t ultimately win the Super Bowl that year (I know, what’s the point of making the playoffs if you can’t win the Super Bowl?), they did defeat the heavily favored (and hated) Oilers in overtime in a wildcard classic down in the Astrodome.
It’s been 33 years and a few days since Gary Anderson’s 50-yard field goal sailed through the uprights to send the Steelers into the divisional round, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
Maybe that’s because that kick and that game are easily accessible on YouTube, which is actually a good aspect of social media. You get to relive your memories. You get to relive celebrations. You know what you don’t ever see on social media? Old footage of fans reacting negatively to their favorite team making the playoffs.
Nobody did that back then.
Maybe you’re a more analytical fan, and your main reason for not wanting the Steelers to make the playoffs is that it will hurt their draft status.
Number one, let me just say that you’re no fun at all.
Number two, that horse left the barn a long time ago. It would be one thing if the Steelers missing the playoff vs. just barely making them was the difference between a top-five pick and selecting 20th. But it’s only going to cost them a few spots.
By the way, is that really what you live for, draft picks, the draft?
In my opinion (and you can call me crazy), a playoff game is worlds more exciting than anything that has to do with the annual NFL Draft.
Now, don’t get it twisted. I’m not calling out Steelers fans like my good friend, Shannon White, a man who looks at the team’s late-season success as simply playing with house money. He doesn’t necessarily care if the Steelers make the postseason, but he’s not going to be offended by it if it happens. Chances are, he’s going to enjoy the game.
You should, too.
We wait all darn year to watch the Steelers. I’ll be damned if I’m going to be disappointed in a regular season that extends into the postseason simply because it may not end with the result I want.
Finally, to quote Melvin Udal from As Good As It Gets: “Sell crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here.”