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Steelers Nation Euphoria

With the Steelers' roster in order, I find out what the fans are thinking.
By Joshua M. Patton

The last game of the pre-season is many things to many fans. Some love it because it is the last chance for the newer players to really make a name for themselves on the field as many players fight to prove their worthiness. I decided to view the game from The Hop House, one of the few bar-restaurants that still allow their patrons to smoke, to experience the game from a myriad of viewpoints. Stefan Logan’s brilliant punt-return for six points set the enthusiasm level high. Shots were passed around in celebration of the touchdown and even the casual fan seemed to want to soak up every second of Steelers football. Pre-season in Pittsburgh is usually a rough time because we have typically had glaring problems, but this year the main problem is an overabundance of talent.

“Redman is the running back we wanted Mendenhall to be!” said a forty-ish man in a Steelers bandanna.

“That Logan kid can do anything!” cheered an older man, mouth full of pasta.

The Steelers Nation is pleased. Ben played only one series and it was a poor showing, but this game is not about him. What makes this final game of the pre-season exciting is the hunger and passion, or lack thereof, we see in those attempting to survive the roster cuts. Yet, the majority of fans in the bar became less interested in the game and more interested in getting drunk. It is a good time to be a Steelers fan. There seems to be absolutely nothing to worry about, and that is what frightens me.

Perhaps I am just being paranoid and there really are no concerns outside of untimely injuries, but nonetheless I worry. For example, our performance in the red zone has always left a little to be desired, especially in regards to the run. Isaac Redman delivered in the red zone and led the pre-season with 145 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Yet, he was relegated to the practice squad in an effort to make room for Logan. It is a shame that Mendenhall is on the roster and Redman is not, given that Mendenhall did not break 100 yards rushing, his longest run was only 13 yards, and he averaged only 3.1 yards per carry. Luckily, Redman cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad. I imagine we will see him during the regular season should injuries provide room for him on the roster.

The talk of the fans quickly shifted from the game at hand, to the season-opener a week away and the season as a whole. Kelly, a college student and avid Steelers fan, explained her excitement, “I simply feel that we are going to have a year like New England has in the past. I am not saying we will be ‘undefeated,’ but I am certain that our playoff position will be locked up as early as possible.” Her attitude was similar to the other fans that I questioned; no one feels that is any kind of jinx to suggest the possibility of a repeat Super-Bowl appearance and the emergence of a new Steelers Dynasty.

The attitude of this city is visibly affected by the success of one of our professional athletic teams. Yet the Penguins and our way-station for players of a baseball team, nothing can truly affect the mood of this town like the Steelers. It’s only Mike Tomlin’s third season and already the people of Pittsburgh hope he stays the head coach for a long time, unlike Bill Cowher who retired just when he got started. Young as he is, it is a realistic expectation that Mike Tomlin’s stewardship of the team will more closely resemble Chuck Noll’s than Bill Cowher’s and never has that promise seemed more realistic than right now. Reality will intrude soon enough. For now Pittsburgh, let’s just sit back and enjoy this feeling.

3 comments:

  1. josh, that was terrible.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What is it about the steeler's that creates such a feeling?

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  3. I promise I will try to "bring it" much harder next week for the first "Anonymous."

    To the second, I am unsure what causes the city to, if I may indulge in some Orwellian word invention, "groupfeel," like it does. Yet, when the Steelers lose, there is a tangible difference in the attitude of the people I encounter than when they win.

    Anyone else ever encounter anything like this?

    ReplyDelete