Can you believe it’s almost the end of June?
Can you believe Steelers training camp is approximately one month away? That’s right, the boys report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. on July 26. The first open practice commences the very next day at 1:55 p.m.
It seemed like only yesterday when I was walking out of Acrisure Stadium and feeling a bit dejected after the Steelers closed out the 2022 regular season by defeating the Browns, 28-14, on January 8, 2023.
Why was I so depressed? Was it because I watched the game with my Twitter buddy, Chuck, and his friends and family? No, they were all cool. Was it because I saw a drunk and passed-out youngster get carried out of the stadium by a bunch of security personnel early in the second quarter? No...after all, this WASN’T my first Steelers game rodeo. Did I secretly want the Browns to win? Of course not. I’ve always wanted the Browns to lose, and that's never been a secret.
No, I was depressed because the Jets, led by Joe “Mr. Elite” Flacco, lost to the Dolphins that same day and eliminated Pittsburgh from the 2022/2023 postseason dance.
As I walked out of the stadium, I couldn’t help but dread the coming 2023 offseason. Yes, I realize this offseason would have likely smacked me right in the face one week later, following a wildcard butt-whipping at the hands of Josh Allen and the Bills’ Mafia, but I wanted one more week to believe, to hope.
I knew I wouldn’t be getting that chance, and as I continued to make my way out of Acrisure, just the thought of the ensuing months and the talk of nothing but the 2023 NFL Draft, a postseason without the Steelers, the 2023 NFL Draft, the Combine, the 2023 NFL Draft, unrestricted free agency, the 2023 NFL Draft, block numbers, the schedule reveal, the 2023 NFL Draft, OTAs, the 2024 NFL Draft, minicamp, and the 2023 NFL Draft was almost too much to bear.
But I got through the past five months like I always do: By lifting, bro. You have no idea how hard it is to sit down and write six months' worth of articles about stuff I am really not interested in. Sure, I like the draft, but I don’t want to incessantly write about it. OTAs are news, but only because the Steelers are an opioid that needs an addict.
As for the schedule reveal? That’s like the latest installment in the Fast and Furious movie franchise: Why?
Having said that, I’m glad I challenge myself to write about those things every offseason because it makes me better.
When training camp rolls around, that’s a whole different kind of writing, only easier. When training camp rolls into the preseason, that’s even better.
And when the regular season starts, that’s cake.
The writing is so effortless, and it’s so reactionary. You do way less speculating (“Should the Steelers kick the tires on that 1992 Chevy Cavalier?”) and way more previewing and reviewing.
Taking my writer’s hat off for just one moment, I do wish the Steelers and the NFL would go away for a bit during the offseason. Instead, they act like that new lover who won’t stop texting you in between dates.
While that hardly ever works in dating (the whole needy and/or creepy vibe), it has done wonders for the Steelers and the NFL (the whole opioid vibe).
It’s okay, though, because while it’s harder to miss the Steelers and the NFL in the modern world of social media and constant engagement, there’s nothing quite like the start of real, actual football.
I love it all. I love hearing about high school football every Friday night. I love the college football scene every Saturday afternoon. And, of course, I love the pro scene every Sunday, especially the scene at 1 p.m.
There is nothing quite like an NFL game that kicks off at 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.
Oh, and the early-season 1 p.m. games, with the crisp, cool air wafting through your living room window while you sit in your recliner and watch the Steelers do their thing?
Heaven is almost here.
We’re just about through another offseason, but before that is over, I have some more heavy lifting to do in July.
It will be worth it, though.