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A Steelers offseason is a lot like life

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The Steelers offseason is monotonous, because it's way less awesome than the regular season. The offseason is always difficult to get through for a fan, and it can mirror everyday life.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I can't believe it's been over five months since that night in early January when I was so crestfallen after the Steelers fell behind 20-9 in the third quarter of their wild card playoff game against Baltimore, I buried my head into the sandy beaches by popping in a DVD of Season 1 of Hawaii Five-0.

I figured if I didn't look, the big, bad Ravens would go away, and Pittsburgh would prevail. This didn't happen, of course, as the good guys lost, 30-17, and ushered in another long and mostly monotonous offseason. But, again, we are in mid-June, which means we're slowly turning the corner towards the regular season--a time that's always fun and full of life (if you're a crazy NFL and/or Steelers fan, that is).

When one is a crazy NFL/Steelers fan, such as yours truly, once the season does come to a crashing halt, he or she probably feels as if the next season will never, ever get here.

With that in mind, I'd like to take this space (and your valuable reading time) by using analogies of everyday life to describe what it's really like for a football fan to survive each daunting and vast offseason.

The end of the season

You know that feeling you get when it's the last night of your vacation--one that you were looking forward to for months--and you realize you're about to turn in and are just a few hours away from beginning that rat race all over again?

Whether you're in Bermuda or on staycation, time away from work is simply bliss. You're sitting around on Tuesday and think to yourself, "the day after tomorrow, I'll still have another day after tomorrow, and I still won't have to go to work."

But once Sunday rolls around, you get all misty-eyed thinking back to Tuesday and how you had so much fun counting your days off.

Same thing holds true in like Week 9 of the regular season. You're thinking, "Man, the Steelers still have eight games left! (Thank you bye week.) After that, it's the playoffs, the conference title game, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl!"

But the Steelers don't always make the Super Bowl, so when their season ends, say in the wild card round, it's like only getting one Sunday off on your vacation, because your boss refuses to give you overlapping weekends.

End of vacation/end of the Steelers season. Either way, you have that sick feeling in your stomach, and you can't believe you have to wait six more months for another vacation/regular season to start.

The Dead of winter

You know that time in late January/early February when it's bitter cold out, and snow falls on your car seat every time you open your door, regardless of how long you take to scrape your doors and windows before getting in? Every day, it's cold, snowy and miserable, and you know you won't be able to enjoy anything outdoors until maybe May, because what's the point of grilling steaks when it's 10 degrees out?

That's what it's like to be a Steelers fan in late January/early February when they've been eliminated from the playoffs, and you can't entertain yourself on the way to work by popping in a CD of Black and Yellow or Here We Go, because, really, what's the point?

The Combine

You ever been a man in a relationship with a woman, and she says, "Honey, you know what today is? It's the anniversary of the first time you kissed me on the Thunderbolt!" (Of course you have.) Anyway, you act all cool about it and pretend that you did know that it was the anniversary of that special moment.

That's what it's like during  the Combine held annually in late February. That is, of course, if you're a football fan but only pretend to be immersed in the event just to keep your street cred. "Heck yeah, I know Sammie Coates ran a 4.43 in the 40! I was just about to write a blog post about that very subject."

The Draft

You ever been a man in a relationship with a woman, and she says, "Honey, aren't you as excited about Valentine's Day as I am?" (Of course you have.) Anyway, you're really not that excited about it, but you pretend to be because it will help keep the peace. And, besides, it never hurts to have a little romance in your relationship, even if it is commercialized.

This is what it's like to be a huge NFL fan, but not necessarily a fan of the annual NFL Draft, an event that often has many of your fellow fans so excited, you want to say, "You do know they play actual games in the fall, right? I mean, this isn't the pinnacle of the NFL's calendar year."

But you don't say anything to your crazy buddies, because, number one, they just won't understand. And, number two, you have to keep your street cred as an NFL fan, by pretending to immerse yourself in all the mock drafts and complimenting your pals on their hard work.

"Your mock draft was the prettiest mock draft of all the mock drafts."

The OTAs

Ever have a retail job at, say, The Sports Deli in Parkway Center, where they get like one customer every three hours, and you have to keep yourself busy by making sure all the Steelers jerseys are hanging on the racks just right and all the Roberto Clemente bobbleheads are displayed perfectly? And you have to do this over and over again, all day long, since your boss is stuck in 1965 and refuses to let you sit down because sitting isn't real work! You look at the clock constantly and almost quit and walk out nine times before lunch.

This is what OTAs are like for me. OTAs aren't training camp; you can't visit the facilities on the South Side and take in a practice or two--something that would be way more convenient than traveling to Latrobe. You hear the stories each and every day, and they're almost always positive and everyone looks good. (Why wouldn't they? They're running around in shorts.) You look at the calendar and realize that it's still only June, and you have to get through this and then mini-camp before training camp even starts.

(By the way, the players probably feel the same way about OTAs. They have to run those plays all day long, making sure they're just right, and if they decide to sit, they're lazy, because real football players don't sit!)

Training camp

Ever look forward to a tropical vacation but still dread all the things that lead up to it like work and packing? However, once you get to the airport and finally board the plane and are in the air, you know you can finally relax. Sure, you haven't reached your beautiful destination just yet, but your worries and stress are pretty much over.

That's what training camp is like. I mean, the regular season is still six weeks away, but at least you can go watch your Steelers in-person. You can occupy yourself with football and news about which player dominated another player in some scrimmage battle or which player was taken down by a tackling dummy.

Preseason football

Ever find yourself stuck in a long traffic jam? (Of course you have.) It sucks royally. However, once you start moving, it's not so bad. Yes, it's still a lot of traffic, but moving is better than sitting there and repeatedly screaming, "Go!"

Moving traffic to an irritated driver is what soccer must be like to people who like soccer and hate stoppages in play in any sport. "It's nil-nil, mate (again), but at least the players are moving all the bloody time. "

Moving traffic is what preseason football is like to me. No, it's not real football, and it can get boring enough to bring me to a sound sleep at times. However, it's actual players moving around on a football field, making passes, catches and tackles.

I hope you enjoyed my analogies. Now, finish straightening out those jerseys, hop on that plane and then fight through that moving traffic. The blissful vacation starts on September 10.