Have you noticed that the air is a bit stale since the Steelers lost in the AFC title game back on January 22?
In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say it has been pretty stale and gloomy since around mid-October or so when Pittsburgh traveled to Miami and got pummeled by the Dolphins, while also losing Ben Roethlisberger in the process.
As the women say, I had “the feels” about the 2016 Steelers from right around the start of training camp, all the way through until it became fairly apparent that they weren’t going to overcome the Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
While in past years, my writing—my gloom and doom style, if you will—was described by some readers as “unhealthy,” “disturbing” or flat-out “irresponsible” (I know, right?), this past season, for some very personal reasons, I wanted the Steelers to bring home Lombardi No. 7.
I think my writing mostly reflected that, as I was unintentionally positive on most occasions (as opposed to intentionally gloomy), when I sat down to share my thoughts about the team on a weekly basis.
But it’s a funny thing about writing. Whatever the general spin your article portrays, the readers want to take the opposite angle.
“Yeah, the Steelers beat the Browns, but it was the Browns.”
“Yeah, Le’Veon Bell rushed for over 200 yards, but I’m afraid they’re using him too much.”
“This writer is an idiot.” (That seems to be a viewpoint shared by my readers, whether I’m positive or negative.)
Anyway, 2016 just seemed to be one of those years when folks weren’t satisfied. Normally, I’m not one to begrudge a fan from being negative, but so much happened last season that was good.
Again, if I had to pinpoint a period when the bloom was forever off the rose, as it pertained to the 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers, it was the four-game losing streak that started in Miami on October 16 and didn’t end until the Cowboys walked out of Heinz Field with a soul-crushing last-second victory on November 13.
Only it wasn’t soul-crushing; to call it that would mean the coaches and players didn’t respond to adversity that included a season-ending pectoral tear to star defensive end Cameron Heyward.
Regarding Heyward, one would think such a loss for a struggling defense would be curtains (no Steel anywhere in sight up to that point).
Not only did the defense that included several young players respond to the loss of Heyward, the entire team did by winning its last seven regular season games to capture the AFC North title and a number three seed.
In the postseason, there were two more victories on the way to the AFC title game in New England.
Along the way, however, I just didn’t sense any good vibes.
It was almost as if people were holding their breath and just praying for a victory parade when all was said and done.
Sadly, since the already alluded to 36-17 loss to the Patriots about a month ago, the Steelers haven’t helped with the bad vibes. We’ve been subjected to Retire-gate (Roethlisberger hinted at retirement shortly after Pittsburgh’s season ended); Diva-gate (too many things about Antonio Brown to list); and a host of other gates that have just left the air stale and stuffy with regards to the 2016 campaign that, by all accounts, should be lauded more than anything else.
Maybe that’s why BTSC can’t write an article about the Steelers drafting an edge pass-rusher these days without someone on Facebook screaming, “No, they need to draft a new head coach!”
As I said earlier, I had the feels for the Steelers this past summer, and I’m sure you did, too.
So, what happened along the way?
It’s hard to say, but a Super Bowl sure would have fixed everything.
Brown’s Facebook Live feed during Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech following the thrilling victory over the Chiefs that captured the head coach’s feelings about the Patriots would have been glossed over had No. 84 been a playoff hero.
Because the Steelers won that game and the Super Bowl a few weeks later.
Nobody wanted Peezy to get traded or cut after the season, and team president Art Rooney II certainly didn’t have to explain to the media why he wanted to keep a Pro Bowl linebacker on the roster.
I guess when the Steelers are supposed to win a Super Bowl, they’re supposed to win a Super Bowl.
Say it with me: Anything less is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!